The Office of Student Conduct offers a variety of resources that may help you resolve and navigate conflicts that you may be experiencing, helping you learn to manage and resolve conflicts peacefully and respectfully.  If you have additional questions, please contact the Office of Student Conduct, 336-278-7271 or studentconduct@elon.edu

What is conflict?

Conflict should be expected as a normal experience for those sharing spaces with others, such as roommates or people on your team. Our Office describes conflict as the struggle that occurs between two or more people, where each perceives that another did not meet one’s expectations. Often times those involved do not realize they may be contributing to conflict or may not have effectively communicated expectations they may have of each other. When faced with conflict, our natural response is avoidance, but to effectively resolve a conflict, we must engage with it, valuing each other’s experience and perspective.

Things to Keep in Mind during a Disagreement

1.   Reflect. Sometimes while experiencing conflict, we allow multiple frustrations to build. These new frustrations do not always represent the core issue of a conflict. Instead, it’s important to reflect on  (Reflect)

2.   Respect. Even though experiencing conflict can be frustrating, it’s important that we center all conversations on respecting the person(s) that we are in conflict with. Respect looks like communicating clearly and kindly the challenges that you are experiencing and providing space for a person(s) to share with you. While you may want to bounce ideas off of friends, it’s important that as you are asking for help, you avoid engaging in actions that may have the effect of isolating, defaming, or otherwise harming the person(s) you are in conflict with.

3.   Collaborate. Remember that you are not in a conflict alone and cannot effective resolve it without working together with the person(s) you are in conflict with. Because conflict doesn’t feel good to anyone involved, addressing the issue together provides an opportunity for all people involved to share their perspectives and experiences. By empathizing with what’s shared, you are putting yourself in a better position to identify a solution that will last.

 

Ways to Resolve My Conflict

While we always encourage you to attempt to resolve conflicts on your own, sometimes you may find that it is helpful to use additional resources to help navigate conversations that you may find difficult. Our Office offers a selection of services that may be useful for some conflicts between students. Our goal is to either provide you with tools to handle these challenging conversations on your own or help facilitate communication that will work towards identifying ways to resolve your conflict.

Conflict Coaching

Meet with conflict coach to gain guidance on how to engage a conflict more effectively and independently.

Who’s involved? A conflict coach will meet with the student who is seeking guidance.

How does it work? Your conflict coach will find time to connect with you to find out more about the conflict you are experiencing and strategies you have used so far. For example, you may be asked to share details about when your first perceived the conflict, what the conflict looks and feels like, conversations and impacts of any conversations you previously had with the person you are in conflict with, and how you hope the conflict will be resolved. After this, your conflict coach will help you create a plan to address the conflict on your own and may provide additional resources they feel will be helpful to you.

Facilitated Dialogue

A facilitator will help guide a dialogue between parties to help gain an understanding or to manage a conflict.

Who’s involved? A facilitator will meet with all parties who are in conflict with each other.

How does it work? Your facilitator will find time to connect with you and the person(s) you are in conflict with to find out more about the conflict that is occurring, strategies already used, and any goals that may overlap. For example, you all may be asked to share details about when the conflict was first perceived, what the conflict looks and feels like, conversations and impacts of any conversations that have already occurred, and you all hope the conflict will be resolved. From there, your facilitator will plan dialogue to help you all understand each other’s perspectives and experiences, before trying to identify potential solutions to your conflict.

Mediation

A mediator will serve as a third party to coordinate a structured meeting aimed at resolving a conflict and crafting a solution for those involved.

Who’s involved? A mediator will meet with all parties who are in conflict with each other.

How does it work? Your mediator will find time to connect with you and the person(s) you are in conflict with to find out more about the conflict that is occurring, strategies already used, and any goals that may overlap. For example, you all may be asked to share details about when the conflict was first perceived, what the conflict looks and feels like, conversations and impacts of any conversations that have already occurred, and you all hope the conflict will be resolved. From there, your mediator will plan meeting to help you communicate concerns that are causing conflict with the goal of identifying a solution.

Restorative Circle*/Conversation

A facilitator will provide space and guidance for students taking responsibility for harmful behavior and those impacted to jointly create an action plan in an effort to restore the community. To continue, someone must be willing to acknowledge that their actions negatively impacted others and be interested in repairing the harm caused.

Who’s involved? A facilitator will meet with the person(s) taking responsibility for harmful behavior and those impacted by the behavior.

How does it work? The facilitator will find time to host pre-circle/conference meetings with those impacted to better understand the behavior that occurred and the harm caused. For example, those impacted may be asked to describe what occurred, how they have been impacted, and how they hope the conflict will be resolved. From there, the facilitator will find time to meet with the person(s) who engaged in the behavior. They may be asked to share context on what occurred from their perspective and the facilitator may share reported impacts of their behavior. After the pre-circle/conference meetings, the facilitator will design and schedule a circle or conference with those impacted, the person(s) taking responsibility, and any additional support people. This meeting will provide equal, respectful, and responsible space for sharing, understanding, and sometimes healing. The circle or conference concludes with an action plan designed by all involved that each participant holds themselves (and each other) accountable to.

*Circles can also be modified to fit different needs that may or may not be related to conflict such as community builders, values exploration or clarifications, or healing circles (where no one is available to take responsibility).

Who should I contact?

Students seeking conflict resolution resources should contact Detric Robinson-Miller at drobinsonmiller@elon.edu or 336-278-7271.