Some cases now brought before the Student Conduct Committee involving disputes between two individual students could be bet-ter-served by a less adversarial approach than a hearing before the SCC.
Mediation may be made available by the Dean when all of the following conditions are met:
• The case involves social misconduct. Mediation is not available in cases involving academic misconduct.
• The investigation of the case has advanced far enough for the Dean to have sufficient information to bring the matter to a Student Conduct Committee hearing or a Dean’s Review. This ensures that if the parties are not able to complete mediation successfully, the Dean is prepared to move forward if he or she chooses to do so.
• The Dean, in consultation with the Co-Chairs of the Student Conduct Committee, approves sending the case to mediation.
• Both parties agree to mediate their dispute. Each party has two class days to decide whether s/he is willing to engage in mediation.
• A mediator meets with each party to determine openness to mediation and whether mediation is being entered into voluntarily.
• The case may involve sexual harassment complaints, but the accusing party will have the right to end the mediation process at any time and to have the case brought to either the Student Conduct Committee or a Dean’s Review. In cases involving allegations of sexual assault, mediation is not appropriate.
In a case where mediation is offered, the students involved in the case must be made aware of whether the Dean considers the matter to be a violation of College policy, as well as whether the matter would likely be resolved by a Dean’s Review or by the Student Conduct Committee. The Dean informs the student against whom the grievance has been brought of the nature of the matter to be addressed during mediation.
If all parties agree to mediation, they are provided with a list of available trained mediators, and they are given an opportunity to cross names off this list. If more than one name remains on both students’ lists, the mediator can be chosen by mutual consent of the parties to mediation or by rotating service among the mediators. If the parties to mediation find none of the available mediators acceptable, this is equivalent to refusing mediation. Once the mediator is assigned, the Dean sends a letter of conveyance to the media-tor confirming that the parties have agreed to mediation and setting forth briefly the basic issue or situation to be addressed.
The mediation process itself is confidential. During mediation, the mediator may meet privately with either party (and their advisors). Such conversations are strictly confidential. Should mediation fail and an SCC hearing subsequently be held, none of the parties to the mediation (including the mediator) may testify about statements made by another party during mediation.
Terms of the mediation agreement do not include letters of censure, probation, suspension, or dismissal.
If mediation is successful, both parties sign the agreement and the matter is considered resolved. The terms of the mediated agreement are kept on file with the Dean in the event a dispute arises in the future over enforcement of its provisions. Either student can bring the other’s failure to abide by the agreement’s terms to the attention of the Dean. The Dean determines the appropriate method of resolving the alleged abridgment: the Dean may resolve it, bring it back to the mediator for clarification and/or renegotiation, or refer it to the SCC.
If the mediator determines that the process has irremediably broken down and an agreement cannot be reached between the parties, then the case is sent back to the Dean and the Dean determines whether to bring the case to SCC, to resolve it with a Dean’s Re-view, or to take no further action at this time.