The Restorative Practices Network at NDSU is made up of a wide variety of students, professional staff, and faculty who have been trained in methods of restorative justice. Restorative practices are rooted in Indigenous traditions, aimed at building community, repairing harm, and resolving conflict.Restorative practices can be used to help our community engage in dialogue and deep listening around important events. They can help us heal together in difficult times or just strengthen our community.
Restorative practices also provide a means to resolve conflict. Conflict is bound to come up for a variety of reasons. At NDSU, we are guided by our Core Values. When conflict comes up, we can work through it using a restorative philosophy and practices.
The Restorative Practices Network recognizes important differences between accountability and punishment. Punishment is something that is done to someone by a decision-maker, and typically involves the assignment of responsibility rather than acceptance of accountability. Our traditional systems have relied on punishment, and most people work to evade that.
Accountability is something that is done together. Accountability requires:
Acknowledgement of what was done.
Acknowledgement of the impact on others.
Expression of genuine remorse.
Repair of harm.
No longer committing similar harm. (Sered, 2019)
How it Works
The restorative approach uses the five steps of accountability listed above. Voluntary participation and active listening by all parties are keys to positive outcomes. Generally, restorative practices follow these steps:
Initiate- A person respectfully communicates that there is a conflict they would like to discuss and resolve. All parties must voluntarily agree to participate.
Dialogue - The people involved use this method to speak, listen, and come to resolution. /to ensure active listening, a talking piece is passed back and forth, and only the person holding the talking piece may speak. Rounds of speaking, listening, and summarizing to check understanding should continue until all parties feel heard and understood, and an agreeable resolution can be identified.
Check-In- Appropriate follow up is done to ensure that agreements have been followed.
Person to Person
The most basic level, this is an informal method we can all use to open dialogue and resolve conflict when it arises. This can be used for disagreements such as roommate conflicts, classroom disagreements, and general frustration with behavior in relationships. This can be completed using the steps described above, but assistance may be requested through the Dean of Students Office or Residence Life staff.
The conference includes a trained Facilitator. The added structure provided by the Facilitator helps to assure respectful speaking and listening. The Facilitator will also do a pre-conference with each person to ensure everyone choosing to participate is prepared. The conference is useful for situations when either party involved feels unsafe or unsure that a person to person dialogue can be successful. To request a Facilitator please contact the Office of the Ombudsperson or the Dean of Students Office.
General talking circles will be provided throughout the year on a variety of topics and events. Following the same basic pattern above, the talking circle is also useful in resolving conflict between multiple parties. In some situations, there may be multiple people who have been harmed or caused harm. The circle involves the Facilitator(s) and all involved parties. All circle participants have equal opportunity to speak and to listen. Circles may be useful in resolving general disagreements between groups where no harm has been committed. Circles can also be a healing tool for the community when the person who caused the harm is unknown. Circle facilitators may be requested through the Office of the Ombudsperson or the Dean of Students Office.