Restorative Justice at Michigan State University 2

Restorative Justice
at Michigan State
Nancy Schertzing
Kelly High McCord
Goals for the Session
Provide an overview of the MSU Context
Share how we began to use RJ
Highlight our collaboration with students
and campus and community partners
Review our strategies for educating the MSU
and surrounding communities
Share how we have implemented the use of
Restorative Justice principles and tools
Discuss strategies for moving forward
Overview of Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
Nation’s first land grant institution
founded in 1855
7 Degree granting colleges
16.2 percent students of color,
11.4 percent international
5,200-acre campus
47,131 total (36,058 undergrad &
11,073 grad and professional
MSU Core Principles
“As we build on our
heritage to move
from land-grant to
world-grant, our
actions and plans
must stem from . . .
our three core,
interwoven values:
quality, inclusiveness
and connectivity.”
Lou Anna K. Simon, President
Michigan State University
Inclusiveness: a belief in the value
of varying perspectives and a
promise of mutual respect. . . . A
community that offers and
respects a broad range of ideas and
perspectives. We embrace a full
spectrum of experiences,
viewpoints and intellectual
Connectivity: align our assets to
reinforce and enhance one
another . . . working as creatively
as possible . . . Organically build
connections so that each part of
our institution can enhance and
benefit from the others.
MSU’s Department of Residence Life
Largest residential housing
program in the country
Live-on requirement for all first
year students
We house approximately 14,800
students in addition to their
partners, children and other
family members
9 Central Leadership Positions
22 Directors
42 Graduate Assistants
320 Undergraduate Mentors
MSU Residence Life Guiding Principles
We believe students learn best when they:
Live in a community that
encourages exploration, debate,
discussion and dissenting views
Are able to process events that
are provocative, disrupting,
and/or unsettling
Can establish meaningful
connections with peers
Are actively involved in the
shaping of their residential
community, which includes
balancing individual and
community needs
Are members of a community
that is diverse, open, and
Believe that they are respected
and valued as individuals with
distinctive skills, abilities, and
Live in a community that is both
physically and emotionally safe
Can study and sleep in their
residential environment
Restorative Justice Distilled
Various peacemaking models
follow a three step process for
addressing harm restoratively.
These include:
Getting a complete picture of
what the situation is that needs
Identifying who has been
affected by the situation and
how they’ve been affected so
everyone’s needs can be
considered in resolving the
Collaborating with all
participants to decide what must
happen for this situation to be
healed as much as possible.
At MSU we have summarized
these steps into three basic
questions that guide our
restorative justice practices
AND our conduct discussions.
What happened?
Who was affected and how?
How do we address the
Embarking on a Journey
2006-2007 Academic Year
Managing bias incidents
Balancing the right to free speech
Research to find an approach to manage issues of
harm unrelated to policy
Began to educate ourselves
Real Justice Restorative Conferencing Certification for
committee members
National Conference for Restorative Justice June 2007
Professional Development Sessions presented by
community partners
Certifying all Central Staff leadership, Hall Directors and
Graduate Assistants through IIRP
Embarking on a Journey
Dialogue with campus partners
Safe Place Director
Sexual Assault Program Coordinator
Senior Advisor to the President for Diversity
Service Learning and Civic Engagement
Associate Vice President of Student Affairs
Residential and Hospitality Services
Department of Student Life
Undergraduate University Division
Collaborating with Community Partners
Local nonprofit doing restorative
justice in area schools invited
MSU to join in developing their
vision and mission statements.
Director and local school district
staffer presented to MSU DRL on
restorative justice principles and
Provided training to MSU staff
and support as they embraced
restorative justice concepts.
MSU undergraduates worked in
CMRJI through Service Learning
Accepted CMRJI
Coordinator as a graduate
assistant when she left to
pursue her masters.
Host monthly RJ
Community Lunch
gatherings for local
restorative justice
practitioners and
interested parties.
Collaborating with Campus Partners
Student Life/Judicial Affairs director sits on RJ @MSU Committee.
Grads from School of Criminal Justice serve on committee too.
Representatives from MSU Safe Place & Sexual Assault Programs,
Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions and others coming on
board in fall.
Communication Arts and Sciences faculty linked us to recent
graduate producing two RJ videos for us.
MSU School of Criminal Justice co-hosted symposium with $1,500
contribution. MSU Law School ADR Program hosted presymposium reception honoring keynoter, Justice Janine Geske.
[email protected] Symposium attendees from at least 15 departments and
offices across campus .
MSU ROIAL Players (student group) developed PSA and have
committed to producing two more.
Educating in Restorative Justice Practices
Presentations to MSU departments and organizations provide
overview and challenge.
RJ @ MSU Symposium introduced restorative justice concepts and
engaged MSU staff and community members in exploring its use.
Print materials outline how restorative justice applies to college –
age lives.
Videos on-line do the same, showing how it has worked at MSU.
Trainings prepare Res. Life staff—from Director to mentors—to use
restorative justice practices and tools in their work and lives both
now and into the future.
Website offers basic
information (in English and numerous other languages).
Implementing RJ at Michigan State
At MSU, we are expanding restorative justice
usage and vision beyond simply addressing
We are implementing it in residence halls and
neighborhoods, embedding tools such as
circles and restorative approach to a variety
of community-building and minor conflict
situations students face every day.
Here is how we define our approach
Learning Lessons as We Go
Restorative Justice limitations:
Circles and Conferences (the RJ tools we’ve trained on in
DRL) take a lot of time to set up and to run.
Those causing harm must take responsibility and want to
make things right.
In Circles and Conferences, at least one of the harmed and
harming parties must be willing to meet face-to-face with
each other.
The RJ tools we’ve introduced are perceived as reactive
instead of pro-active in nature.
DRL has limited our definitions and measurements of RJ
to these primary tools.
Emphasizing Philosophy over Tools, Yet . . .
“Restorative Justice is
Respect for all, even those
who are different from us;
even those who seem to
be our enemies. Respect
reminds us of our
interconnectedness, but
also of our differences.
Respect insists we balance
concerns for all parties. If
we pursue justice as
respect, we will do justice
—Howard Zehr, The Little
Book of Restorative Justice
All parties of a conflict deserve to be
treated with respect. (Zehr)
We are all connected in some way,
therefore harm to one constitutes
harm to all. (Quantum Physics, Native
American Tradition, Buddhist Belief, others)
Circles provide an opportunity to
meet and connect as people in a
way that other forms of
communication do not. (Pranis)
Positive social norms exist, and
should be honored. Through
constructive shame and support,
those who violate those norms can
be reintegrated into society (rather
than isolated from society) by
healing the harm their conduct
violation caused. (Braithwaite, Maori,
Equipping All to Use Restorative Philosophy
Community Development Tools
Talking Circle
For Fun
For Getting to Know Each Other
For Addressing a Topic as a Community
Conduct Tools
Restorative Questioning
Restorative Thinking
Media Depicting a
Restorative Process
Followed by Discussion or
Peace-making Circle
Impact Panel
Check-in Circle
For Taking the Pulse of a Group
For Connecting or Reconnecting
Feedback Circle
For Hearing Perspectives on a Topic
Valuing Your Feedback
gratefully and

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