Even with the guidance of the Statement and the CLS, conflicts will occur in the community. Though challenging, these conflicts present an opportunity to advance University Housing's mission to create and sustain learning-centered residential communities. The special environment of University Housing allows the community to take advantage of this opportunity through an approach known as restorative practices.
Restorative Practices represents a philosophy and a process that acknowledges that when a person does harm, it affects the person(s) they hurt, the community and themselves. It is a
process that brings community members together to build community and address any harm caused within that community. Restorative Practices can range from the informal to formal as different behavior arises in a community. Restorative Justice (RJ) is one formal method of addressing harm and impact within the residence hall community. When using restorative justice measures, an attempt is made to repair the harm caused by one person to another and to the community so that order may be restored for everyone .
The Housing Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (HSCR) Process has been developed with the restorative justice principles in mind. The process strives to resolve conflicts by promoting understanding and appreciation of the community standards, encouraging residents to take responsibility for their own actions, ownership for their community, and engage with all the affected community members in the resolution.
The HSCR process is an administrative function and it is not subject to the same rules of civil or criminal proceedings. Because some of the violations of CLS or CLAM documents are also violations of the law, students may be accountable to both the legal system and the University. The HSCR process may be changed from time to time by the University. The HSCR Process and University processes will often proceed notwithstanding any civil or criminal proceeding.
The HSCR Process uses a preponderance of evidence as the standard of proof.
It should be noted that University Housing recognizes that each situation is unique, and conflicts will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
For more information about the HSCR Process, please contact HSCRprocess@umich.edu.
A. Documentation of Possible Violation(s)
When possible violations of the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities (Statement) or the Community Living Standards (CLS) are observed in connection with University Housing, they are generally documented by residents, staff members and/or Housing Security/DPSS officers. The information report is submitted to appropriate University Housing Staff for review.
B. Initial Review of Incident
HSCR staff reviews the report and decides how the case will be handled.
The staff may decide to dismiss the case without further action, to direct the case further through the HSCR Process, refer to the Community Circle program or refer the case to the Office of Student Conflict Resolution (OSCR). In some cases the incident may be considered for emergency removal or relocation, (see Contract Modification or Termination)
A community circle is a type of alternative conflict resolution that brings the resident together with all the other affected parties to talk about the incident: the resident acknowledges
responsibility and talks about how the incident unfolded and the other parties explain the impact on the community. Together, the resident and other parties develop an agreement that reflects ways the resident can repair the harm done and achieve restored status within the community. The resident is responsible for carrying out the agreement and failure to do so will result in the case being referred back to the Hall Director or HSCR staff member arbitration officer for assignment of restorative measures. If the resident completes the community circle and fulfills the agreement successfully, the resident will not incur a conduct record. The information about the case will be kept for statistical purposes only. Community Circles are typically held for students involved in an incident with others for the first time and are determined by HSCR professional staff.
The following is the criteria that University Housing will use when considering whether to refer a case to OSCR:
- The alleged behavior presents a potential threat of danger to persons or property.
- The alleged behavior presents potential imminent danger to persons or property.
- The alleged behavior is of a repetitive nature and the accused student is not responding to local process and/or restorative measures.
- The alleged behavior involves harassment (racial, sexual or other) and indicates a potential impact on the campus-wide climate.
- The alleged behavior indicates that the responding student may need to be put on notice that repetition could result in suspension or expulsion.
- The alleged behavior occurs outside of University Housing or the responding student is not a member of the University Housing community.
When appropriate, an adaptable conflict resolution (ACR) may be offered as the first and fairest method to resolve many situations. Structured dialoguing, conflict coaching and community response may be used as the ACR process, but mediation is the most common. Mediation is an interactive problem-solving process in which an impartial person facilitates communication between parties to promote reconciliation, settlement or understanding among them. A successfully fulfilled ACR process will typically result in a written agreement, which may become a binding portion of the housing contract for those involved. It will also likely eliminate the need for further action within the HSCR Process.
C. Case Disposition
After the initial review is conducted, and notwithstanding any emergency measures needed, the contract holder will be notified on next steps concerning the HSCR process and if, for example, the matter is recommended for Community Circle, the matter will continue through the HSCR process or whether it will be referred to OSCR. Every effort will be made by the Hall Director or HSCR staff member to notify the contract holder within 10 working days of receipt of the incident report. Following notification, if the matter is retained within Housing for disposition, HSCR staff will contact the student to schedule a meeting as described below. A contract holder’s failure to participate in or respond to the HSCR process will not prevent the process from moving forward. In those situations, the case may be resolved in the contract holder's absence.
Should the contract holder have a concern regarding the fairness of the Hall Director or HSCR staff member, a request for a new arbitration officer may be made within 24 hours of receiving the request for a meeting described above. The request for a change should be directed to HSCRprocess@umich.edu and should include the rationale for requesting the change.