The Alternative Resolution Process (ARP) provides students and student groups with a pathway to resolving interpersonal conflict and empowers all parties to participate fully in the accountability process. When students agree to participate in an ARP, they engage in dialogue about the harm that has been caused, the impact of that harm, and what needs to be done to repair the harm. The ARP is designed using a restorative philosophy which supports accountability that is formulated with involved parties. In other words, the ARP enables the person who was harmed in the situation to participate in deciding what should happen to repair the harm that was caused to them. This is unique to an ARP as compared to the traditional disciplinary process.
One reason students who have experienced harm choose to participate in an ARP is so that they can continue to add their voice to the outcome and accountability of the person who caused them harm. Other students may want to participate so that they can tell the person who harmed them how the harm had an impact. Still others want to hear from the Harming Party about what they were thinking when they caused harm.
Regardless of your motivation, most students enter the process because they want some sense of closure to their incident. They may not walk away having a completely restored relationship with the other party, but the ARP gives them an opportunity to address the situation in way that feels more personally meaningful than the student conduct process can provide.
If I am a Harming Party, why should I choose to participate in an ARP?
Given that a requirement to participate in an ARP is admission that you caused harm to another person in some way, one of the benefits to participation is having the opportunity to explain your thought process and apologize for your actions. Though a direct apology is not required, participants are able to accept the impact of their actions and seek to make things right. These responses can act as a form of apology and self-accountability.
Other students participate to avoid facing the disciplinary process. While this is a possible benefit of participation, we encourage students to find other, less altruistic motivations as accountability from peers is often more difficult to face than from an administrator.
The ARP is an entirely voluntary process and can be altered at any time. It can be used as an alternative to, alongside, or at the conclusion of the traditional student conduct process. The ARP can also be used for incidents in which no policy violation has taken place. Situations involving interpersonal conflict or harm caused to others can be resolved through an ARP. Some examples of cases where an ARP may be used might be: roommate conflicts, social media conflicts, possible harassment or cyberbullying, vandalism, just to name a few. Other types of incidents can be considered for ARP by the Director of SARP.
The Office of Student Accountability & Restorative Practices uses the ARP for various circumstances involving individuals and even student groups and organizations. Although most incidents where ARP could be utilized will be reported to SARP as possible policy violations, individuals or groups seeking support in resolving conflict can request an ARP by contacting us at sarp AT_TOWSON.