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WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN ENTERING MEDIATION


Overview

     Parties meet the mediator. The mediation starts with one-on-one meetings between the mediator and each party OR with a joint session in which both parties are present with the mediator. Individual meetings are followed by a joint session. The mediator describes the process in full, including time frames, ground rules, and confidentiality. Each party makes a statement regarding the dispute. The mediator meets privately with each party in caucus to discuss his or her individual concerns.
Both parties rejoin the mediator for a joint discussion in which possible resolutions are explored. The process of caucus and joint discussion is repeated until a resolution is reached which is agreeable to both parties. The mediator helps the parties develop and write an agreement. Parties sign the agreement, which is binding on both.


How Much Time Does Mediation Require?

     The average mediation session lasts one to three hours. Most often the mediation is concluded in two to three sessions. Mediation is a timely process in which disputes are typically resolved within 30 days or less.


Is Mediation a Confidential Process?

     Mediation is a confidential process, in which every reasonable effort is made to ensure that the parties' privacy is respected. Participants may not discuss the mediation with anyone outside the process except where a university official has a "need-to-know" or where both parties give permission to share the terms of their Agreement within another individual, such as a supervisor or dean. The Ombuds Office may be consulted on questions regarding "need-to-know."


Who Keeps Copies of the Agreement?

     Copies of the agreement are kept by each party and by the Ombuds Office. In some instances, with the consent of the parties, the mediation agreement may be shared with other individuals, who are affected by the outcome of the mediation.


What Happens if the Agreement is Breached?

     Parties are expected to abide by the terms of the agreement. If either party believes that the agreement has been breached, he or she may contact the Ombuds Office. Parties should understand that the university reserves the right to take appropriate action, including disciplinary action, if either party breaches the agreement.


Who are the University Mediators?

     The mediators are university community members who have been trained in negotiation, dispute resolution, and communication techniques. Parties requesting mediation will be assigned a mediator who does not have an inherent conflict of interest. If either party feels that the designated mediator has a conflict of interest, another mediator will be assigned.