Restorative justice, at its most basic level, is a way for an individual to take responsibility for any harm they may have caused to another individual or the community. This process allows for all parties effected (victim, offender, and community) to process how the harm can be restored for the individuals involved. On a college campus often times students, staff, faculty, and other on and off campus community members may find that they have been affected directly or indirectly by an individual or groups behavior. Restorative justice practices can provide the space for profound learning moments and reparation.
Restorative Justice is driven by four guiding principles:
- Inclusive decision-making - Putting the decision making back into the hand of the individuals that care most about the harm that has occurred.
- Active accountability - An offender cannot sit back and be judged. They must be engaged in the process and take responsibility.
- Repairing harm - Focuses on hearing a reparation to bring up the harmed party.
- Rebuilding trust - Rebuilding the relationships so that the offender can once again be trusted and the harmed party can feel safe.
Karp, D. R. (2013). Little book of restorative justice for colleges and universities: repairing harm and rebuilding trust in response to Student Misconduct. Intercourse, PA: Good Books.
Supporting the Student Conduct Mission and Vision through Restorative Justice at UK
To further support the mission and vision of the Office of Student Conduct at the University of Kentucky, restorative justice practices will allow students to experience taking personal responsibility for harm that has been caused to an individual and/or community. It will empower harmed parties to confront issues that have occurred and the individuals who acted as the offender. Finally this will be a way for community members to take ownership of problems in their community, further demonstrating a culture of responsibility and accountability.
In accordance with the Code of Student Conduct, restorative conferences:
- Provide an opportunity for interaction between the Respondent and any harmed party or Complaining Witness, but also may involve the community in the decision making process. Community participants may be anyone in the community concerned about the behavior. The goal is to provide everyone a voice in the process and bring understanding to all parties. Restorative conferences also allow for collaboration in deciding what is to be done about the incident in question and also to address any underlying problems that led to the incident.
- Participation in a restorative conference is voluntary. All parties must willingly agree to attend. The Respondent must have previously accepted responsibility for the behavior in question in order for a restorative conference to occur. Annual training for restorative conference facilitators is provided by the Office of Student Conduct. Restorative conferences may or may not result in additional restorative actions, depending on the outcome of the conference.
- If a resolution is not met through the restorative conference, the student conduct process will resume and a formal hearing will be scheduled to determine restorative actions.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information regarding restorative conferences at UK.