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 email@example.com.