Restoring Community

Are you interested in creating a culture of community and connection on your campus? What tools can be used to live out the mission and values of your university actively every day? How can you engage students in addressing decisions they make as opportunities to learn? What is Restorative Justice (RJ) and how can you bring the principles and tools of RJ to your campus? This manual was developed to help answer these questions and provide a framework to bring restorative justice to your Institution of Higher Education. This framework is based on the impressive Restorative Justice work that is being led by Administrators and RJ Practitioners utilizing RJ principles and tools at 9 prestigious colleges and universities across the United States.


That's the opening of Justine Darling's report, "Restorative Justice in Higher Education." Darling conducted phone interviews with representatives at Skidmore College, Fresno Pacific University, Liberty University, James Madison University, University of Oregon, Colorado State University, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Michigan and Michigan State University, all of which are employing restorative justice practices in various ways on their campuses. The report discusses a wide range of practices in use, from restorative hearings and boards to restorative justice conferences, peace circles and restorative dialogues.

Darling is the Restorative Justice Coordinator at the University of San Diego and recently completed a masters degree in Peace Studies. The heart of her report is titled, "Formats and Best Practices," and focuses around four themes: Restorative Structure and Techniques; Creating RJ Support; Sustaining RJ Principles; and Vision and Goals. Each section includes a "Main Finding" overview as well as examples of how the various institutions have chosen to implement their programs.

In a section title "Benefits," Darling notes notes that at the University of Michigan, Peter Meagher found that "Over 90% of participants felt the agreement reached through the conference was fair, while over 90% said they would participate in a conference again, and 80% of participants said the conference strengthened their sense of community."

Download the full report here.