If you're reading this, you are probably thinking of trying the mediation process to address and resolve your concerns. Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process that is managed by an impartial and professional third party. The purpose of mediation is to provide an equitable and confidential process that encourages the parties to create a mutually acceptable resolution of issues in dispute. The campus ombuds may serve as the mediator, and there are other qualified mediators such as the EEO Officer who may be utilized as well.
The mediator is neutral, and does not make opinions about who is right or wrong. The mediator does not provide resolution options, legal advice, or serve as the parties' counselor. The mediator is present to facilitate respectful and constructive dialogue so the parties may address and resolve their concerns.
Mediation has four phases:
- Introductions, roles, expectations, and agreement to mediate,
- Opportunity to discuss your issues uninterrupted,
- Review the various options for resolution, and
- Finalize the agreement. (A written agreement is optional.)
Three key principles to keep in mind to ensure the effectiveness of mediation:
- the parties voluntarily attempt in good faith to resolve their concerns,
- the mediator is a trained neutral, and is not an advocate, attorney, or judge, and
- the information shared during the mediation process is kept confidential.
Questions to consider in preparing for mediation:
- How would you summarize your concerns? What happened?
- What are the underlying issues?
- What impact do these issues have on you personally, professionally, or your office/program?
- How do you think the other party perceives the situation?
- How do you think the other party is affected by the circumstances?
- List specific outcomes that would resolve the situation for you?
- What options might the other party offer?
- How are they compatible with your options? If any, what compromises are possible?
- In the future, what things could you do differently?
- What behaviors would you like to see from the other party?
For any questions, or any requests for assistance, please contact Elizabeth Stone, the university ombuds, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Partly derived from materials developed by Scott M. Deyo, ombuds at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.)