Helping resolve student conflicts

Image from Durham College website

Campus Conflict logo

Someone not pulling their weight in a group project? Your roommate won’t clean up after himself? That’s where Campus Conflict Resolution Services (CCRS) can come in.

CCRS provides free and confidential resolution services on campus, and will also try to help resolve conflicts. But some CCRS mediators say more people could take advantage of their services.

Mediation student Charlotte Hand-Ross says their services are valuable but two things sometimes make it difficult for them to reach more students. She says not everyone knows CCRS exists because there are so many students on campus, and often times with a program like this, some people may worry about being judged.

“I think it’s really beneficial to take advantage of our services because we are so willing to help,” says Hand-Ross. “Aside from what we can help you with at that specific time, we do provide you with great transferable skills moving forward.”

These services are provided to anyone on campus who needs help with conflict, whether it’s group work, teammates and even relationship advice. In a session, the mediator helps identify key issues and assists with negotiating a mutually acceptable agreement, as well discussing how to implement that agreement.

CCRS is a mandatory class as part of the Mediation-ADR course. Students meet each week to discuss and go over any conflicts they’ve dealt with or presentations they’ve given. The students discuss what went well and what strategies they used to help going forward in other situations.

“It’s important for us do this, so we are staying consistent in our work and ensuring what we do is relevant and effective,” says Hand-Ross.

The mediation students provide help through mediation, but if both parties don’t want to take part, they will provide coaching and give advice to help with the situation for those willing to listen. They can provide services to students at either school on campus but cannot help with conflict between a student and professor.

This is a grad-certificate program so many of the student mediators have already experienced these conflicts in college.

CCRS supervisor and Mediation-ADR program coordinator, Dale Burt, says the program not only helps those looking for conflict resolution services, but also helps the students providing the service.

“The program gives students real life, hands-on experience that will help them once they get into the field,” says Burt.

People looking for assistance can get in touch with CCRS by e-mail on their Durham College website page. Burt then passes the inquiry on to the students who would volunteer to take on the task at hand.

Hand-Ross says working alongside students to help solve conflicts, or even just giving them advice, has really helped her as a person and provided her with important experience heading forward.

“I’ve developed a leadership role that I didn’t really know I had before,” explains Hand-Ross. “I’ve been able to express my creativity differently in this program.”

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Cam is a second-year journalism student at Durham College who enjoys writing about sports and opinion pieces. Cam loves attending sporting events and travelling. In the future, he hopes to write for a sports network and will be interning at The Hockey News.