What are our Services?
Mediation is a time-tested process to help people in conflict talk constructively about the conflict, identify the issues they want to address, and come up with options.
Mediation is a completely voluntary and confidential* process that helps two or more people in conflict communicate about the situation, clarify their issues and goals, and try to reach a constructive resolution.
Mediators are members of the MIT community trained as neutral facilitators to help the parties in a conflict to work together on the issues that are important to them.
Mediators do not make decisions about who is right or wrong or how things should be resolved--all decisions are made by the parties. It's a process to help parties come to a mutual decision to resolve their differences.
How does it work?
- One of the parties contacts Conflict Resolution@MIT (phone: 617-253-3276; email: firstname.lastname@example.org) to request mediation or get more information.
- A staff member will discuss the situation and explore whether mediation is appropriate.
- If the requesting party wishes to go forward, either that person can contact the other party/parties, or the Conflict Resolution@MIT staff member will get in touch with the other party/parties to see if he/she/they is willing to participate in mediation. In order to proceed everyone must participate voluntarily.
- Conflict Resolution@MIT staff select a pair of mediators and schedules the mediation session at a time convenient for all, usually within a few days of the first contact.
- At the start of the mediation session all parties sign a written agreement to participate in mediation. A copy of the agreement to participate can be found here.
- Each person will get an opportunity to talk about what is happening. Everyone will get a chance to ask questions, clarify issues and help everyone understand the issues. The Mediators will help identify the issues and assist in option generating. Mediators may sometimes meet privately with each party to further explore the issues.
- A typical mediation lasts 2 hours. Either party can withdraw from the mediation at any point. If needed, additional sessions can be scheduled by mutual agreement.
- If the parties reach points of agreement, the mediators help them record those points. A final agreement, if reached, can be written or verbal. MIT does not keep a copy of the final agreement or enforce the agreement, and there are no punishments or disciplinary consequences associated with non-compliance--not even any official record of the dispute. Mediated agreements tend to hold up well, however, because both parties have contributed to them, and no one needs to sign any agreement he or she does not feel comfortable with.
Conflict coaching is a confidential* resource for students who are experiencing conflict and are interested in resolving the conflict on their own, or are not yet ready to involve a third party. The purpose of coaching is to give skills and resources that will allow him/her to approach the conflict on his/her own. It can also be beneficial for students who are in the early stages of conflict and want advice on how to improve the situation before it gets worse.
During a conflict coaching session, the coach will ask questions of the student that will encourage him/her to think about the cause(s) of the conflict and brainstorm potential options for resolution. Additionally, the conflict coach will share resources with the student including tips for approaching and managing the conflict.
Facilitation one or more sessions with a neutral third party who can help your group accomplish its objectives.
A skilled facilitator can get a group off to a constructive start and/or get a group back on track. No group project is too small or too big.
We can provide a skilled facilitator for your group or team. We can also provide facilitation training.
What issues can be brought to Conflict Resolution@MIT?
Just about anything: noise, money, chores, group lab projects, privacy, interpersonal conflict, student group issues, and racial, cultural or gender issues.
You can be at the beginning, middle or crescendo of a conflict.
If you are unsure whether your conflict with another person (or persons) is appropriate, contact Conflict Resolution@MIT at email@example.com or (617) 253-3276. You can talk to us in confidence* for information or a consultation.
You Can Use Our Services If
- Avoidance isn't working
- You just need someone to listen
- You’re stuck and have been spending a lot of time arguing with little improvement in the situation
- You feel that there is no possible solution
- You don’t know how to talk about your conflict in a constructive way
- You don’t understand what the other person wants from you, and they're not listening to you
- You think your conflict is not important enough to bring to a dean/counselor/administrator
- You are not comfortable sharing information that could be critical to moving forward in the conflict with someone ‘official’*
- You would like a safe space to discuss difficult issues
- You just want the conflict to be over with
*Confidentiality Policy: We keep all conversations in confidence and will only share with the permission of the visitor or party - except in the unusual situation of imminent risk of serious harm to self or others.