Fighting With Your Roommate

					                             Fighting With Your Roommate?
                               Don’t Move Out….Mediate!

Does your roommate bug you? Are you fighting with your fraternity brothers or sorority
sisters? Do your friends “borrow” too much of your stuff?

If so, there’s a new campus program designed to help you air your frustrations and
communicate with your fellow students.

In March, WCU launched the Campus Mediation Program (CMP) to resolve disputes
between students. The Campus Mediation Program is housed in Scott 107. Courtney
Howard, a business law major, is the student case coordinator and can meet with you to
decide whether mediation is appropriate in your case. Courtney, who has been a mediator
since last April, says: “We expect that the campus mediation program will help students
learn how to resolve disputes without sacrificing friendships.”

So far, 20 students and 5 faculty members have been trained as campus mediators. Since
the program was started in March, two cases have been mediated and more are scheduled.

Mediation is an informal process in which an impartial mediator facilitates
communication between disputing parties in an effort to help the parties reach agreement.
The mediator is not a judge and cannot impose a solution on the parties. Instead, the
mediator, through active listening skills and facilitative techniques, helps the parties work
toward resolution. If an agreement is reached and reduced to writing, the written
agreement can be enforced as a contract.

Mediation allows parties to focus on the issues underlying a dispute. Sometimes the real
issue is not the issue that is being fought. For example, your roommate uses the last of
your shampoo. You complain to her. She agrees not to do it again. But the real issue was
not the shampoo; it was your roommate’s continuing use of your property and her
disrespect for you. Perhaps the shampoo was just the last straw. The mediator can help
you to deal with the real issues involved—not just the triggering event.

The mediation program will operate out of the Department of Student Judicial Affairs.
Walter Turner, the Director of Student Judicial Affairs is a recent supporter of mediation.
He says: “The Campus Mediation Program will be a wonderful addition to the student
judicial process by providing an alternate route to resolution. The program will help us
achieve some of our primary goals: education, student development, and behavior
change. Further, the Department of Student Judicial Affairs is impressed with the level
of collaboration between faculty, staff, students, and the community as the Campus
Mediation Program has been developed.”

If you are interested in becoming a mediator, you should contact Courtney. Mediators
must complete a 21-hour mediation training, which will be offered again in the fall. If
you were a peer mediator in high school, you may be eligible to become a mediator
without taking the full training.
The College of Business has also proposed an interdisciplinary minor in Conflict
Resolution and Cross-Cultural Communication. If you are interested in mediation, you
might want to check out the interdisciplinary minor, which will allow you to take courses
across the curriculum to give you a solid interdisciplinary understanding about conflict
resolution and cross-cultural differences. Business Law professor Jayne Zanglein who
designed the minor says: “For students who are interested in a career in mediation, WCU
is the place to be. We have more opportunities for student mediators than most campuses
in the country. Not only do we offer peer and community mediation training, but we can
help students observe or co-mediate community mediations with Mountain Mediation
Services, agricultural mediations with the North Carolina Agricultural Mediation
Program here on campus, and superior court mediations to provide students with a
remarkable learning experience.”

For More Information…

For more information about any of these programs, contact Courtney Howard at 828-227-
2591 or