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Skidmore College
Project on Restorative Justice

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Restorative Justice for College Student Misconduct and Campus Community Building

Four practices best represent how RJ has been implemented on the college campus. What are Campus RJ Practices?  

  • Restorative Justice Conferences. This model focuses on the facilitated dialogue between offender and harmed parties. After a discussion of the harm, the parties (rather than the hearing officer or board) decide what steps the offender can take to repair the harm. Trained facilitators guide the dialogue.
  • Restorative Justice Circles. These are similar to RJ conferences, but borrow practices from indigenous traditions, especially the Native American practice of using a "talking piece." This is a symbolic object that is held by the speaker, indicating that no one else should speak. The talking piece is passed clockwise around the circle, creating a different rhythm of the dialogue. Circles are used for a variety of purposes beyond offender/harmed party dialogue and decision making. Often they are used for community building or discussion of difficult issues, particularly in Residential Life.
  • Restorative Justice Boards. These have a structure of a "model code" conduct board with standing board members that may be drawn from faculty, staff, and students. But they focus on RJ principles of identifying and repairing harm and rebuilding trust. Harmed parties are invited, but are not needed for the board to proceed. While RJ boards retain the ability to have private deliberations and make their own determinations about sanctions, these practices are avoided to increase the active participation of offenders and harmed parties.
  • Restorative Justice Administrative Hearings. Because most campuses rely on one-on-one administrative hearings to manage their caseloads, many have incorporated restorative practices into their hearings. Typically, this would include an emphasis on identifying what harm was caused by the offense and how the student can repair it. But it can also include inviting harmed parties to participate in the hearing, essentially transforming the hearing into a RJ conference.
Carleton
Campus RJ training at Carleton College, March 2015

Join this community of practice for discussion: Campus RJ Google Group

Campus RJ Programs

Many campuses have implemented RJ in a variety of ways. Download a list of schools. Contact us at RJproject@skidmore.edu if you would like your school listed.

Campus RJ Presentations

Here are two presentations. The first is a short panel discussion at Dalhousie University in June 2016. The second is a full lecture at Occidental College in March 2017.

Campus RJ Publications

cover of The Little Book of Restorative Justice for Colleges and Universities

The Little Book of Restorative Justice for Colleges and Universities (2013)

An accessible, brief overview of how restorative justice is being implemented on college campuses. Includes practical tips, protocols, and a campus conferencing script.

cover of restorative justice on the college campus

Restorative Justice on the College Campus: Promoting Student Growth and Responsibility, and Reawakening the Spirit of Campus Community. (2004)

An edited volume examining restorative practices on campus with detailed case studies and a variety of applications including academic integrity, bias incidents, alcohol violations, and sexual misconduct.

Bibliography of Campus RJ Research