Serving Employees at All Campuses of WVU
Social Justice at WVU is everyone’s responsibility. Mediation of conflicts that arise among us is an important tool in helping members of our community successfully live and work well together. But Social Justice goes well beyond resolving disputes. We succeed best when we embrace certain core values that social justice is founded on:
- Every person has intrinsic worth and dignity;
- Respect for law is fundamental;
- Freedom from fear is universal;
- A climate of opportunity, mutual respect, and understanding engenders a feeling that the future should be shared by all community members;
- There is an absence of discrimination and harassment based on age, color, disability, ethnic origin, marital status, pregnancy, race, religious beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, and veteran status; and
- The rich diversity of people, their cultures, and the bonds that tie people together are appreciated and celebrated.
What is Mediation?
Conflict is inevitable. It is part of everyday life, and is not necessarily good or bad. Common causes of conflict are breakdowns in communication, contradictory beliefs and values, changes, cultural differences, and misinformation.
Conflict makes many people uncomfortable, disrupts work, may cause illness, and is often difficult to define and deal with. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Supervisor/Employee Relations
- Co-worker Behavior
- Work Expectations
- Annoying Habits
- Credit for Work Done
- Limited Resources
- And Many More
Mediation is a structured process of communication that creates a special context for people to discuss and resolve issues of mutual concern. Mediators lead the process to clarify issues, identify options, and create an agreed-upon course of action.
Who Are the Mediators?
Mediators are university employees or retirees who have received special training in mediation and have the desire and ability to assist individuals in working through conflict. They are bound by strict standards of confidentiality and are neutral parties in the process. They are assigned by the Office of Social Justice to each case, after consultation with all parties to assure their objectivity. While in some instances a mediator will work alone, it is more common to have co-mediators.
It is important to note that mediators do not impose solutions. Rather, they guide a process to assist the involved parties to reach their own mutually acceptable resolution.
How Does This Process Work?
Mediators meet jointly with all parties in the mediation. They establish the procedures based on the nature of the issues and the needs of all involved. They will assure that all participants are there voluntarily, that fair ground rules are established, that principles of confidentiality are understood, and that the mediation procedures are applied in a competent and equitable manner. While no two mediations are identical, the process involves clarifying the issues, developing a mediation agenda, clarifying the mediator’s role, generating options, exploring the consequences of the options, and seeking agreement on the best course of action to be pursued.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Mediation is quite informal and is not an adversarial process. If either party desires to bring an attorney or anyone else to assist them, both parties must agree to it. Every decision regarding mediation, including who is involved, is voluntary at every step. It is important to note that legal rights to grieve or seek other legal remedy are not lost by participating in mediation.
How Do I Know I Can Trust the System?
Peers selected from the faculty and staff conduct mediation. They are well trained and are committed to protecting the rights and well-being of every person in the process. Confidentiality is required of every mediator and no record is kept of mediation by mediators or the Social Justice Office, which administers the program.
How Long Does Mediation Take?
Mediation is not a lengthy process. The process may take only one meeting and often not more than two or three.
Has Mediation Been at WVU Very Long?
Mediation began with the work of the WVU Senate Welfare Committee in the mid-1980s. Later, a separate staff mediation program began. The two were merged in the late 1990s and mediation was assigned to the President’s Office for Social Justice in summer 2000.
What Else Should I Know About Mediation?
Mediation is a valuable alternative in resolving differences. Participation is always voluntary on the part of all parties and mediation occurs during official work time. If assistance is needed to arrange for mediation to be conducted on official time, please contact the Social Justice Office. There is no charge for this service.
WVU at Parkersburg Mediation
Mediation, an approach to managing conflicts in the university community based on collaboration and development of mutually agreeable solutions, is characterized as:
- Effective alternative to grievances and litigation
- Conducted on official time
For additional information or to request mediation, please contact: