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
- 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
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
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
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:
|Office of the President
||President's Office for Social Justice
|WVU at Parkersburg
|B 1 Stewart Hall
Parkersburg, WV 26104
||Morgantown, WV 26505