At Buffalo State College (NY), restorative justice (RJ) practices were introduced into the residence halls in 2015 to help resolve student conflicts and interests. “We viewed it as a way to provide less punitive responses to student behavior via the student conduct process,” said Janelle Brooks, the assistant dean of student conduct and community standards who served as the assistant director of residence life at the time. Then, in 2019, RAs were trained as RJ ambassadors to help expand the program.

“Restorative justice works by listening to both sides of a situation,” Brooks told the Buffalo State News. “It’s powerful because it helps students have a better lens to make decisions. They still get restitution, but it’s more restorative in nature. It can’t, however, be used in every situation.”

Restorative Practice Ambassadors and Committee

At Grinnell College (IA), they have a Restorative Practice Committee made up of students, faculty and staff members. They also list a group of Restorative Practice Ambassadors who are primarily staff members coming from the following areas: Student Involvement, Student Affairs, Education Professions, AmeriCorps Service Member Community Enhancement and Engagement, Anthropology (faculty member), Careers, Life and Service, Admissions, Major Gifts, Center for Teaching, Learning and Assessment, Library, Inclusive Initiatives, Development and Alumni Relations, and Communications.

Student Ambassadors as RJ Liaisons

At Brown University (RI), Student Ambassadors are “trained in restorative practices and conflict resolution. Their primary responsibilities are to serve as a liaison between the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards and the student body. Student Ambassadors also coordinate programming for the office monthly and help manage the office social media account.” 

Sources: Restorative Practices, Grinnell College; Student Conduct & Community Standards, Brown University; Buffalo State News, 1/5/22

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