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Copy of Conflict and Mediation for RA training Fall '13

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Amy Chambers

on 30 October 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Conflict and Mediation for RA training Fall '13

The Road to Conflict Resolution & Mediation
Side By Side Agreements
The End!!
We have a little activity!
It's Out of Your Hands
We do the same things you do!!
Individual meetings
Revisit roommate agreement
There are no straight roads to resolving conflict.

Study Times/Quite Times
How much sleep do we need?
What are our class, work and personal schedules?
When do you wake up/go to bed?
How do we feel about hitting snooze button?
How do we feel about noise, lights, typing, etc.
What are our noise tolerance levels when studying?
Where do we prefer to study?
When studying in the room, what are the expectations of roommates?
Other thoughts?
This is the underlying cause of many roommate issues!

Use of the Community Area
Encourage residents not to simply say "we can share everything"
What are the things that they can share?
What are the things that they will not share or use?
Most people are not okay with others sleeping on/in their bed when they are gone
Is the room split in half or do they have shared space/items (fridge, microwave, TV, etc.)
Other thoughts?
Cleaning Issues
Encourage residents not to simply say "let's clean when it gets dirty".
How often and how thoroughly will we clean the room?
Who will do what to clean?
What are our expectations with general cleanliness of the room
and personal belongings (messy, casual, spotless, etc)?
Who will buy the cleaning supplies?
How often will we remove trash?
Any other thoughts?
Visitation & Guests
How often can guests come over/be in the room?
When are good/bad times for guests?
Does it need to be advance warning or discussion for when guests are coming over or staying the night?
What are expectations about guests of whom which the roommate may engage in sexual relations with?
Any other thoughts?

Please remember your buildings specific visitation & guest policy!!
Use of Personal
What items can be shared with/without permission?
What items may not be used by the roommate(s)?
What will we do with items bought together for the room?
How do we feel about locking our doors when we are out?
What about when we are sleeping?
Any other thoughts?
Please note: Res Life STRONGLY encourages all residents to lock room doors when not in the room during the day/evening or when in the room sleeping at night.
Don't forget to remind your residents to carry their
room key and Ranger Card when they are out of the room and not to give those items to anyone else!!!!
Communication/Resolving Conflicts
This is a skill many residents do not have, be patient and teach them!
How do we agree to communicate with each other about issues?
What do we feel comfortable talking about or not talking about?
If someone stops by how will we take messages?
How late or early is appropriate for others to hang out in our room?
Any other thoughts?
Make sure to spend time on this one.
It may not be the cause of issues,
but it is the reason they get out of control!
Other Topics
How do you feel about policy violations in the room?
How would you feel if alcohol was brought into the room?
Any allergies/medical issues to share with your roommate?
Any other thoughts?
All roommates can be held responsible for policy violations that occur in the room.
Side By Side
Remember you should be present if possible when completing the agreement(s).
Ask your supervisor what they would like to be done with completed Side By Side Agreements.
If there isn't enough detail, go through it again!
Remember if they get a new roommate at any point, a new Side By Side Agreement needs o be completed!
If a roommate disagreement occurs, please let your supervisor know
Ask if they have talked to their roommate
Do a mediation and review roommate contract
Get your supervisor involved if necessary
Can be an awkward thing to talk about...
Initial Complaint
One of your residents says they are having roommate issues...
Naturally, they have to move IMMEDIATELY!!
Active listening is just as important as what you say...
Make eye contact
Acknowledge you are listening verbally or physically
Reflective listening is part of active listening!
"So what I hear you saying is..."
Ask questions (open-ended)
Pay attention to their non-verbals
Body language
Facial expressions
Time to Discern:
Do they just want to be heard or listened to?
Are they looking for a solution?
Listen to them!
Use "Active Listening" skills
1. Brainstorm possible solutions.
2. Consider results or consequences of each solution.
3. Allow the student to come to their own conclusion—
the one that’s best for them (unless dangerous)!
This is something invaluable to conflict resolution!
______________, I feel ______________ when you ___________________
because ________________. I would like _______________________.
The I-Statement is to be said in a way that minimizes the chance of misinterpretation.
Starting with “when YOU do THIS” can cause someone to be defensive and accusatory
Not using the I-statement can make mediation more difficult
Not using the I-statement can make it extremely difficult for residents to try and handle a conflict on their own
Should be the first suggestion you, as the RA, make to your residents in a conflict situation
How you are heard is just as important as what you say and how you want to say it!!

Name of person
Emotion you are feeling
Behavior causing the conflict
How it affects you
What would make the issue better for you
Time for Them to Go Off on Their Own
It's going to be scary, it's going to be unpleasant. If conflict was fun, everyone would do it!
Suggest they speak to their roommate first, without you
They are going to be hesitant
Talk them through it!
Teach them a few of the awesome skills you will have by the end of this session!!
How to listen effectively
Remind them to stay calm
The more calmly they speak, the less agitated both of them will get
So They've Talked...
The follow-up conversation is essential!
The one still wants to move (they always do)
Get some details about the conversation...
How did it go?
Did everyone stay calm?
What did you talk about?
Why do you still want to move?
The real question being, "What issues didn't you work out that were the real reason for you wanting to move in the first place?"
Nothing is Fixed...Yet
Now it's time for you to step in and work some RA magic!
Central's Roommate Conflict Process:
Everyone thinks they can just move, this is not the case! This process is here for a purpose-and it's a good one!
You, the RA, are the first step in this process.
Residents will say "I need to move NOW" or "I hate my roommate", etc.
The Res. Life staff is here to teach them how to take those statements and turn them into a solution.
First, the residents need to TALK to each other. Face to Face (crazy thought, right?!)!!!
NO facebook chat, NO twitter, NO emailing, NO texting, snapchat, etc.
Give them tips!
Usually that conversation goes south somewhere...
You, the RA, will meet with each of them separately (this is important for getting the whole story)
You will then have a mediation (a skill we will touch on in a few minutes)
Give the solutions from the mediation a couple of weeks to work!
Depending on the issue, give it some time to work out. Results wont be immediate!
If the mediation just didn't help and they still want to move...
Explain to the residents their next meeting is with your supervisor
Another mediation possibly with the building director
After another trial period, the building director will talk about moving them to different rooms
This should be nothing new...
Use the same listening skills as before!
Active listening
Reflective listening
Ask a LOT of questions.
They might tell you something they wouldn't in front of others
What are the issues and when did they start?
"Nothing" is not an answer to your questions!
Getting as much information as possible will help with the impending mediation
It's not surprising your residents didn't have a successful conversation. This is not a skill most of them have yet, and it's the reason you all are such a big deal and their main resource!
The Mediation
Follow these tips and guidelines for a successful outcome!
Getting Started
Mediation is more than just talking
Location, Location, Location!
Their room is usually NOT the ideal location.
Somewhere neutral
A room that has a door to close (for privacy)
An environment where one person doesn't hold more power or authority
Somewhere that can be uninterrupted for an hour (just to be safe)
Be sure there is enough space for 3 people to be comfortable and have personal boundaries (3ft or so between them)
You found a room?
Find a chair for everyone (including you-don't forget!)
Set them up in a triangle- the residents should face each other and you make sure there are no barriers between any of you (desks, tables, other chairs, etc.)
The Mediation
The room is all set up, and the roommates have arrived
Begin the mediation with an opening statement
Ask someone to share their side of the story to start the mediation
Usually the one that first approached you with the issue
Make sure they are sharing all of the details you know about
Reframe, and make sure you have correctly identified their issues
Like in the video- "So what's most important is..."
"So you feel angry, hurt, etc. when ______"
Do this for each roommate!
Have them speak to each other, eye contact and everything!
You are there to help, not to be someone to talk through.
Keep an eye on their non-verbals (and yours)
Opening Statement
Nothing said in the mediation will be shared outside of the people involved and the Area Coordinator if necessary
No interrupting-
Everyone will have equal chances to share their points, and respond to others. That goes for the mediator as well, let them talk (unless it is gets out of hand)
Ground rules-
No swearing, name calling, yelling, etc The only time it's okay to interrupt a mediation is to "detoxify" the conversation. calmly remind the parties about this rule, and reframe what they were saying
You don't make decisions, THEY make them-
This means they have to be willing to share things, and work toward solving the problem. They will both have an equal role in the brainstorming of solutions
You will not take sides-
Remind them you are as neutral as you can be, and will be helping both sides find solutions.
This is an important part-helps put them at ease
Does this look like a successful setup?
legs crossed AWAY from other person
arms crossed
head turned
talking through the
mediator, open posture,
not facing other person
It doesn't go so well...
The "triangle" setup is ideal, because it creates an environment where everyone can easily look at each other without being uncomfortable.
Finally, the mediation is almost over
All of the issues have been discussed in detail.
Ask one more time if there is anything else anyone would like to share before you start to brainstorm solutions
Go through the side by side agreement section by section, taking care to focus a lot on the areas causing the issues.
Different things are naturally more important to people; safety is more important than friends, for example.
Take notes of their suggestions.
Get at least one solution for each issue you discussed.
Solution agreement
Discuss the ideas for solutions to each issue
Both of them must agree!!
Write the solution on the new side by side agreement.
After the mediation is over, explain to the residents that they will have a while to give the solutions they just came up with a chance to set in. You will follow up with them soon!
Follow Up!
This part is very important!
Re-visit the roommate agreement
Check that both roommates are abiding by the decisions made
Do things need to be tweaked?
If a decision needs to be changed, talk about it!
Ask how they are discussing the issues now. Hopefully they learned some skills from you by this time.
Remind them of the communication tips (I-statements, listening skills, etc.)
So, They Can't Get Along...
Time to involve the Hall Director
You should be informing your Hall Director of every step that you have taken up until this point.
The more info we have, the easier it is to help the residents!!

Update/inform the residents of the next step(s)!
Please, tell them you will be involving us. Make sure you mention that they aren't in trouble!
** Everyone seems to think we only talk to people who are in trouble...

What the Hall Directors do...
If we believe we have exhausted all conflict resolution options, we can allow the roommates to move, but that is our decision.
They will decide who moves out (usually that isn't much of an issue... but sometimes it is)
The one moving will get a list of roommate options (someone with an empty bed)
The new roommate will get 24 hours that they are getting a new roommate
They do the "matchmaking", not us!
Go to dinner, the Brickstone, etc. to get to know them
Talk about similarities, differences, schedules, etc. to see if it can work
We will do our best to contact new and old RA in the event of a room change
The Road to the Resolution is Blocked!
What now?
Sometimes there just is no resolving conflict, and that's okay. We have to try!
Its All in the Details!
When having the Side By Side Agreement conversation, it is important to be as detailed as possible. It's the little things that start the big issues.
** Set rules!
It seems very tedious and annoying, but it is worth it in the long run!!!!

Mandy Parente
University of Louisville
Fall 2014 RA In-Service
Full transcript