At Gallaudet, Student Accountability and Restorative Practices utilizes practices derived from Restorative Justice principles, which may not align with typical Restorative Justice procedures, to address instances of conflict that arise in the community. The purpose of a restorative process is to bring together all parties involved in an incident for the purpose of addressing the harms associated with the conflict. This affords the opportunity for discussion of varying points of view and an opportunity to gain a better understanding of those involved.
Restorative processes can be requested by students, organizations, community members, or sanctioned as a result of the Disciplinary Process. Typically, before parties come together for a restorative process, an intake meeting will be held in which a facilitator will determine whether the conflict, and the participant(s), are a good fit for a restorative process and if so, the most appropriate method of response. However, the facilitator(s), in consultation with the Director of SARP or designee, reserves the right to alter this procedure in order to uphold the intent of the Restorative Practices process.
There are numerous methods of restorative processes that can engage all stakeholders, including apology letters, conflict coaching, facilitated dialogue, shuttle negotiation, restorative conferences or restorative circles. The context and the needs of those involved will be taken into consideration when determining how best to repair and address the harms caused by a given conflict.
The following applies to the intake meeting of a restorative process:
- Any University member impacted by the behavior of a Gallaudet student may schedule an intake meeting to explore the opportunity for a restorative process in response to any conflict that has had a negative impact on themselves or on other persons whether there is a policy violation or not.
- An intake meeting is designed to explore options for addressing concerns in a given situation. Having the intake meeting does not necessarily mean a future process will be pursued, as restorative processes are voluntary unless sanctioned as a result of a policy violation through the Disciplinary Process.
- A restorative process is not permissible for situations in which the process may result in a violation of the law or university policy, such as no-contact orders or protective orders.
If it is decided a restorative process will be pursued, the following applies to the Restorative Practice Process:
- In cases where there was, or may have been, a policy violation, a restorative process is not intended to replace the criminal, civil, or SARP Disciplinary Process. A restorative process at times can happen before, after, concurrently, or as an alternative to the Disciplinary Process for the resolution of student conflicts.
- If a restorative process is to be utilized in lieu of formal resolution of charges, all parties in conflict must agree to the process as an option for addressing their concerns.
- All parties will have an opportunity to help develop expectations and agreements for the process.
- Restorative Practices processes where participants meet face-to-face will include time for all parties to collaborate in order to determine what the Respondent needs to do to address the harms and restore the needs of those involved, to the best extent possible. This results in a formal written agreement between all parties of the Respondent’s obligations. If the parties cannot come to an agreement regarding outcomes and obligations, the Complainant may pursue the SARP Disciplinary Process if alleged policy violations existed prior to the restorative process.
- Participants have the right to withdraw their participation in a Restorative Practices process at any time prior to a written formal agreement being signed by all parties.
- Complainants maintain the right to withdraw their participation in a Restorative Practices process and pursue alleged policy violation(s) through the SARP Disciplinary Process at any time prior to a formal written agreement being signed, if potential policy violation(s) existed prior to the start of the Restorative Practices process.
- Upon signing the formal written agreement regarding the outcomes and obligations required by the Respondent, the Complainant may not pursue alleged policy violations through the Disciplinary Process unless the Respondent does not fulfill the outcome(s) and obligation(s) stated in the formal written agreement. The formal written agreement outcomes and obligations, once signed, are final, and are not appealable.
- All parties taking part in a process may request to have other individuals participate in the process. The request will be reviewed by the SARP staff and will be denied or approved based on the needs of the process and potential for harm to be created.
Details of the restorative process are kept confidential by SARP staff members and volunteer facilitators to the extent permissible by law, except for a brief report from the facilitator to any referring party and the appropriate administrator(s) that an agreement has been signed by the parties. The facilitator will also report to the above parties if an impasse is reached and no agreement is forthcoming. This permits further exploration of other options for resolution of the conflict. However, if a threat to the health, safety or security of any member of the university community becomes a concern to the facilitator, they will inform the parties that appropriate authorities must be notified.
EFFECTIVE DATE: AUGUST 21, 2020