SUNY Potsdam has created an opportunity for on-campus mediation services through the Dean of Students Office. This service is designed to resolve conflicts between members of the campus community (students, faculty and staff).
Mediation is part of a broad category of systems referred to as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). ADR consists of five separate processes: negotiation; conciliation; arbitration; fact finding; and mediation. Within the context of this framework, mediation is defined as voluntary participation in a structured process where a neutral third party assists disputing parties in identifying and satisfying their interests relative to their dispute. The result of a successful mediation session is that there are no winners or losers, but rather, it is hoped, generally satisfied individuals who have, through compromise, arrived at an agreement which resolves their dispute as they defined it. Mediators do not investigate, seek evidence, or attempt to determine who is right or wrong or what would be fair. Instead, mediators focus on helping disputants work together to identify common interests and to find mutually agreeable solutions. Finally, mediators do not have the power to enforce agreements. When viewed from an educational perspective, mediation strongly reinforces our current developmental beliefs.
The mediation service is coordinated by Mary Dolan, Human Resources, and Chip Morris, Dean of Students. It is located in the Barrington Student Union. The Center’s staff has completed formal mediation training. Referrals may come directly from students, faculty, or staff.