Project Description

Presented by Buffalo State College

Many folks are familiar with the concept of Restorative Justice and its use in the Criminal Justice system and now in Student Conduct on college campuses. Restorative Justice is a powerful approach to discipline that focuses on repairing harm through inclusive processes that engage all that are involved. This approach works when all individuals (harmed and accused) mutually and voluntarily agree to work together. The goal of Restorative Justice is to repair harm done by an action, with the hope of collaboratively coming to a resolution, a clear understanding, or an agreement. Restorative Justice is also a useful tool in our community. While frequently used to replace punitive forms of discipline, restorative circles are equally important in proactively building the relationships and skills community members need to support one another and collectively address the challenges they face. Focusing on larger, systemic forces in the community can help members better understand their situation and can be a useful starting point for community members to become more active themselves. Action and activism can inspire hope, connection and healing. Through this workshop we will discuss how we transitioned into holding community restorative justice circles in a virtual space. Normally restorative circles are in person with folks coming together and sitting around a circle with a shared talking piece. It can be difficult to adapt this space to an online setting. We found with an intentional design for our online space and allowing folks to set their intentions and needs that this work can be adapted and thrive in an online community. While going fully virtually last spring and dealing with many difficulties impacting our community including COVID-19, racial injustice and the divisive political climate we knew that we could not stop our prevention work. We wanted to create a space for students, faculty and staff to come together and discuss how these things were impacting them and our shared community. We have also adapted our collaborative circles within the residents halls facilitated with SCCS Office and Lead Resident Assistants to an online format. We would like to use this session to allow attendees to: Learn more about restorative justice community circles How to create a safe and welcoming online space Experience what a restorative circle is like through role play and practice Adapt our method to their own campus for future use