At JMU, OSARP utilizes practices derived from Restorative Justice principles, which may not align with typical Restorative Justice procedures, to address instances of conflict that arise in the community. The purpose of a restorative process is to bring together all parties involved in an incident for the purpose of addressing the harms associated with the conflict. This affords the opportunity for discussion of varying points of view and an opportunity to gain a better understanding of those involved. For more information about Restorative Practices, please visit our website at:  

Restorative processes can be requested by students, faculty/staff, organizations, community members, Harrisonburg Police Department, or sanctioned as a result of the Accountability Process. Typically, before parties come together for a restorative process, an intake meeting will be held in which a facilitator will determine whether the conflict, and the participant(s), are a good fit for a restorative process and if so, the most appropriate method of response. However, the facilitator(s), in consultation with the Director of OSARP or designee, reserve the right to alter this procedure in order to uphold the intent of the Restorative Practices process.

There are numerous methods of restorative processes that can engage all stakeholders, including apology letters, conflict coaching, facilitated dialogues, restorative conferences or restorative circles. The context and the needs of those involved will be taken into consideration when determining how best to repair and address the harms caused by a given conflict.

OSARP uses restorative practices to address incidents of sexual harm through the Adaptable Resolution process. For more information on this process, see the "Adaptable Resolution" section of the Handbook.

The following applies to the intake meeting of a restorative process:

  • Any person impacted by the behavior of a JMU student may schedule an intake meeting to explore the opportunity for a restorative process in response to any conflict that has had a negative impact on themselves or on other persons whether there is a policy violation or not.

  • An intake meeting is designed to explore options for addressing concerns in a given situation. Having the intake meeting does not necessarily mean a future process will be pursued, as restorative processes are voluntary unless sanctioned as a result of a policy violation through the Accountability Process.

  • If sanctioned as a result of the university Accountability Process, intake appointments are mandatory. In such instances, an alleged policy violation of Failure to Comply with a Disciplinary Decision could be filed for failing to schedule and/or attend the intake appointment. 

  • If required by a university official, intake appointments may be mandatory. In such instances, an alleged policy violation of Noncompliance could be filed for failing to schedule and/or attend the intake appointment.

  • A restorative process is not permissible for situations in which the process may result in a violation of the law or university policy, such as creating a violation of no contact orders or protective orders.

If it is decided a restorative process will be pursued, the following applies to the Restorative Practice Process:

  • In cases where there was, or may have been, a policy violation, a restorative process is not intended to replace the criminal, civil, or OSARP Accountability Process. A restorative process at times can happen before, after, concurrently, or as an alternative to the Accountability Process for the resolution of student conflicts.

  • If a restorative process is to be utilized, all parties in conflict must agree to the process as an option for addressing their concerns. 

  • All parties will have an opportunity to help develop expectations and agreements for the process. 

  • Restorative Practices processes where participants meet face-to-face will include time for all parties to collaborate in order to determine what the Responding Party needs to do to address the harms and restore the needs of those involved, to the best extent possible. This results in a formal written agreement between all parties of the Responding Party’s obligations. If the parties cannot come to an agreement regarding outcomes and obligations, the Reporting Party may pursue the OSARP Accountability Process if alleged policy violations existed prior to the restorative process. 

  • Participants have the right to withdraw their participation in a Restorative Practices process at any time prior to a written formal agreement being signed by all parties.  

  • Reporting parties maintain the right to withdraw their participation in a Restorative Practices process and pursue alleged policy violation(s) through the OSARP Accountability Process at any time prior to a formal written agreement being signed, if potential policy violation(s) existed prior to the start of the Restorative Practices process. 

  • Upon signing the formal written agreement regarding the outcomes and obligations required by the Responding Party, the Reporting Party may not pursue alleged policy violations through the Accountability Process unless the Responding Party does not fulfill the outcome(s) and obligation(s) stated in the formal written agreement.  

  • All parties taking part in a process may request to have other individuals participate in the process. The request will be reviewed by the OSARP case organizer and will be denied or approved based on the needs of the process and potential for harm to be created.

  • If sanctioned as a result of the OSARP Accountability Process, Restorative Practice processes are mandatory for Responding Parties. In such instances, an alleged policy violation of Failure to Comply with a Disciplinary Decision could be filed for failing to schedule, attend, and/or complete the outcomes of the restorative process.

Details of the restorative process are kept confidential by OSARP staff members and volunteers to the extent permissible by law, except for a brief report from the facilitator to any referring party and the appropriate administrator(s) that an agreement has been signed by the parties. The facilitator will also report to the above parties if an impasse is reached and no agreement is forthcoming. This permits further exploration of other options for resolution of the conflict. However, if a threat to the health, safety or security of any member of the university community becomes a concern to the facilitator, they will inform the parties that appropriate authorities must be notified.

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