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May 13, 2019 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Restorative Justice Policies Proposed for VUW

At the most recent Victoria University Council meeting on May 6,, members met in anticipation for the name change media announcement scheduled that afternoon.

However, there was another debated topic on the table— a proposal to integrate restorative practices into the university’s current policies.

Guest speaker Chris Marshall discussed the practical effects of implementing restorative systems of conflict resolution “in response to harmful episodes”.

These policies were to be used “whenever applicable” remarked Vice-Chancellor Grant Guilford.

This process looks at facilitating dialogues with people involved in conflicts, in order to address and resolve them.

The aspiration of the policy is to “repair harm, restore mana”. This was one of Marshall’s driving points throughout his presentation, who added that, “like rust, resentment never rests, and like rust, it takes professional care to get rid of it”.

Marshall stated that current systems were too slow and too impersonal.

The proposed system works by analysing the conflict that has occurred (past), what is currently happening (present), how those conflicts can be resolved (repair), and what needs to be done later to ensure that all parties involved are happy (future).

There were, however, council members that showed some hesitance towards this system.

One council member enquired whether Marshall was suggesting that a restorative justice system could be used to replace the punitive system established in New Zealand.

“It comes back to accountability,” responded Marshall, “a raw period is required if proper healing is to be done”.

Another council member questioned if the proposed name change could be resolved through restorative process.

Marshall remarked that there would be “too many people” to undertake one-on-one or even two-on-two discussions, however, broad groups were suggested as a solution.

The session closed with Marshall commenting on how we often underestimate “people’s willingness to be vulnerable with each other”.


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