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Mediation Services

The goal of facilitative mediation is to bring two disputing parties together to enable a discussion that leads to a mutually agreeable solution to a problem. The mediator facilitates a solution generated by the disputing parties; the mediator does not decide for the parties what needs to happen. Typically, the mediator is a neutral party that allows both sides of a dispute to air their viewpoints through discussion facilitation. If mediation fails to lead the parties to resolution, the dispute may escalate to a more formal university process that is an arbitrated process leading to a binding decision.

What kind of things can mediation resolve?

Mediation is designed to help resolve conflicts surrounding authorship, funding, mentoring or any others types of disputes or disagreements. The goal of mediation is to try to resolve such issues between parties before more formal mechanisms are pursued.

How does a pre-mediation meeting work?

Like meetings with an Ombuds, your entire conversation is confidential. Sometimes, graduate students do give permission for information to be shared. The pre-mediation meeting is to discuss the logistics of setting up the mediation session in which both parties are brought together to attempt coming to a resolution. The pre-mediation meeting is designed to ensure that less formal processes have been exhausted and that mediation is the best next step for the parties. The pre-mediation meeting is also designed to explain how mediation works and how it differs from arbitration-type procedures (such as Grade Appeals). If the requestor decides to move forward with formal mediation, the OGACR staff will work towards setting up the mediation session.

Keep in mind that university policy requires the office to report cases of alleged research misconduct to the Research Integrity Office or the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships, depending upon the nature of the allegation. Likewise, the staff must report situations in which students and others are in imminent risk or danger. All OGACR staffs are mandatory reporters of sexual harassment and sexual violence allegations regardless of service or assistance requested.

What is a mediation session like?

In a mediation session, the disputing parties are brought together to openly discuss the conflicting issues. The meeting may take 1 to 2 hours depending on the dispute. While most of the mediation work is done with both parties in the room, the mediator may meet individually with one or both parties as needed. Information in private caucus sessions is confidential unless the party allows information to be shared in the open session. Ultimately the mediation session allows both sides to air their issues and interests, brainstorm solutions that are amenable to both parties, and develop mechanisms for better communications, working relationships, and fewer future conflicts.

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