RIT Hosts Restorative Justice Conference, April 14

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Forming restorative justice programs on college campuses will be the subject of a one-day conference at Rochester Institute of Technology on Thursday, April 14. The day’s activities will take place between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the Fireside Lounge in the Student Alumni Union on the RIT campus.

Restorative Justice on Campus: Theoretical and Practical Implications for Colleges will focus on the implementation of practices on the university level that emphasizes a community-driven approach to resolving infractions and violations.

An approach to doing justice based on ancient traditions that have been only recently rediscovered in many parts of the United States, restorative justice seeks to repair harm caused by crime, misconduct and conflict by involving all stakeholders (offenders, victims, and community members). Common elements of restorative justice include mediation, conferences, peacemaking circles, victim assistance, restitution and community service.

The conference will teach campus officials, criminal justice professionals and community members about restorative justice principles and practices applied on college campuses. Proponents of this growing movement, David Karp, associate professor of sociology at Skidmore College, and Thom Allena, an instructor of criminal justice and sociology at University of New Mexico-Taos and private consultant, will share their insights. The conference will also feature RIT Student Affairs professionals on the creation and implementation of the campus’ new restorative conferencing process.

“Viewing student misconduct issues and conflicts with a restorative lens—and engaging students, campus disciplinary officials and other members of the university community within a process that seeks to repair harms and improve social relationships—has resulted in very positive outcomes on a number of colleges campuses,” says Thomas Castellano, chair of RIT’s Department of Criminal Justice. “Professors Karp and Allena are the national experts on the topic, and we can learn much from them.”

“A number of very hands-on and interactive activities are planned, which should really promote the learning process,” says Jean Griffin, of RIT’s Center for Student Conduct and Conflict Management Services in Student Affairs.

The event is sponsored by RIT’s Department of Criminal Justice and Division of Student Affairs, as well as RIT’s College of Liberal Arts and the Finger Lakes Restorative Justice Center. For registration fees and additional details, visit www.rit.edu/~crimjust or call 585-475-2432, or contact Jean Griffin at jean.griffin@rit.edu or 585-475-7668.