Ready to find out what MSU Denver can do for you? We’ve got you covered.
The Restorative Justice Coalition is exploring restorative practices as a response to conflict and harm that occurs at MSU Denver. The Dean of Students Office, who initiated the Coalition, wants to involve our MSU Denver community to share their knowledge and experiences to collectively envision restorative justice at MSU Denver. Allowing a more holistic approach for our campus community needs with conflict resolution and accountability.
Like many other colleges and universities, MSU Denver has a Student Code of Conduct and specific processes to address violations of community standards. Conduct processes have historically been centered in dominant notions of accountability, mirroring the criminal justice system in process and language. The MSU Denver Dean of Students Office recognizes that the current approach to student conduct can lead to inequity like that of the criminal justice system and can also be insufficient in addressing the needs and harms that have resulted from wrongdoing.
Restorative practices offer a different lens in addressing harm and accountability. To restorative principles of relationship and interconnectedness, the coalition will help address the systems that have contributed to what happened for all parties. It is an opportunity to be more truly community-focused and conflict-positive, while meeting the needs of our students, particularly for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and others whose voices have been traditionally marginalized.
The Coalition will also explore other ways to use restorative approaches to community and relationship building on campus.
The coalition will use consensus decision-making to help us collaborate and make decisions. Looking through the lens of social justice and anti-racism, the coalition will explore how we can build community through conflict at MSU Denver.
Meeting topics may include:
In addition to connecting with others within the MSU Denver community to create change and an environment rooted in restorative justice, you will gain experience in skills with:
Contact Elise Krumholz, Coordinator of Student Conflict Resolution Services at [email protected]
Restorative justice is a collaborative process that brings together the involved parties to address what happened, the impacts and needs of all involved, and what can be done to repair the harm that has been caused.
Storytelling and recognizing the harms that the stakeholders have experienced is at the center of a restorative dialogue. This community-centered approach embraces active accountability, listening, and repair. Restorative justice is also a relational approach to conflict and wrongdoing, rather than a punitive one where the focus is primarily on the violation and punishment.
This collaborative process invites the participants to identify and address the needs of the parties and may result in a restorative agreement in which participants mutually develop a plan with specific resolutions. To ensure a successful process, restorative justice is voluntary and requires the responsible party(ies) to take responsibility for the harm and to be willing to repair the harm caused.
Download our Restorative Justice at MSU Denver Flyer for more information about the restorative justice process.
In practice, restorative justice may receive referrals from many sources, such as:
Restorative justice often feels like a shift in orientation towards conflict, crime, and wrongdoing, however, restorative justice is deeply rooted in different indigenous cultural practices from around the world. Restorative justice challenges dominant American and Western notions of accountability and justice, pushing us to see a different way of addressing harm. Restorative justice does not just consider the wrongdoing, but to be transformative, prioritizes relationships and looks at what holistically contributed (individually and systematically) to what occurred.
Key in accepting restorative practices has been recognizing the harms created by traditional systems of justice, including economic impacts, mass incarceration, the school-to-prison pipeline, and disparities in school discipline. Dominant mechanisms of discipline have also diminished local, indigenous, or community-based methods of addressing harm, creating gaps in cultural responsiveness and opportunities for systemic oppression.
Traditionally, higher education institutions have implemented codes of conduct as a system to address violations of community standards. The MSU Denver Dean of Students Office recognizes that historical approaches to student conduct have contributed to systems of oppression and racial inequities. It can also be insufficient in addressing the needs and harms that have resulted from wrongdoing and be dissatisfying for those involved. The Dean of Students Office has committed to reviewing and making changes to MSU Denver’s Student Code of Conduct and conduct processes, which have been historically centered in dominant notions of accountability by mirroring the criminal justice system in process and language.