Center for Student Conduct’s (CSC) Restorative Justice Pathway
The Center for Student Conduct offers a restorative justice pathway for students and the UC Berkeley community to address harms they have experienced in addition to the existing student conduct adjudication process. This process has several different aspects that make it qualitatively different from when filing a complaint of student misconduct and can result in different outcomes compared to the informal and formal adjudication processes outlined in the Code of Student of Conduct.
What is “restorative justice”? How does the Center for Student Conduct define it?
As utilized within the CSC, the term “restorative justice” (RJ) refers to a set of principles and practices that prioritize the reparation of harm and reconciliation of interpersonal relationships. The RJ process is meant to be a response to student behavior that causes harm to members of the UC Berkeley community and which diverges from UC Berkeley’s community standards as outlined in the Code of Student Conduct. CSC recognizes the community’s relational interdependence in this regard by inviting and embracing the active participation of those who have been harmed, those who may have caused harm, and those who can support meaningful and individualized agreements (called a Repair Plan) that promote accountability and healing.
What is the restorative justice process at the CSC?
CSC offers an RJ pathway to provide parties who may have been harmed by a UC Berkeley student’s behavior with an additional resolution option in lieu of formal conduct charges. This pathway is an elective option to address a broad range of alleged student behaviors, with some limitations defined below.
With the assistance of a trained facilitator, the involved parties can craft a response that addresses and resolves the incident(s) that accounts for the harms experienced and the needs of the parties involved, typically in the form of a Repair Plan (see below). Conferencing to resolve the matter can take different forms, such as “shuttle diplomacy”, a restorative circle, community dialoguing, or more, depending on how the parties involved want to move forward with addressing the misconduct.
It is important to note that the RJ process is currently only available for behavioral misconduct (generally defined as harm to people or property) and is only available if the party alleged to have caused harm is a student or student(s) in the Berkeley community. At this time, the RJ process is not available for academic misconduct cases or cases involving sexual violence or sexual harassment.
For more information on the procedures, please review Appendix III of the Code of Student Conduct.
What is a Repair Plan?
A Repair Plan is an agreement between all involved parties in an RJ process. Through a process facilitated by CSC staff, all parties involved shape this agreement to resolve the harm, impact, and/or incident that has occurred. CSC then provides further accountability for the part(ies) in completing the Repair Plan in order to resolve the matter reported.
How is RJ different from the other conduct processes at the CSC?
The following distinguishes the RJ process from the CSC’s informal and formal processes are:
- The RJ pathway requires the express consent and participation of the initiating party and the party that has caused harm
- The Repair Plans are, with the help of a trained RJ facilitator, collaboratively designed between those who have been harmed and those who have caused harm.
- The RJ process empowers the harmed party and the party that may have caused harm to identify the impact of the harm, what needs to be done to meet the needs of the harmed part(ies), and how the part(ies) who engaged in harm can demonstrate a commitment to restoring relationships within the UC Berkeley community.
- Unless agreed upon in the Repair Plan, RJ processes do not create a reportable student conduct record.
The RJ process at the CSC is expressly meant to offer an opportunity for those who have experienced harm to have an avenue to resolve that in a way that centers the agency of the harmed party at the center of resolving the misconduct.
What makes this different from the Restorative Justice Center on campus?
Many experiences of harm may not reach the level of a policy violation but can be very impactful for the people who experience it. The RJ Center works with students to find restorative pathways or resolutions for taking accountability and accessing repair.
The CSC and RJ Center collaborate with training and support. When harms reported to the CSC don’t reach the level of behavioral misconduct that would be a policy violation under the Code of Conduct, the CSC can refer students to the RJ Center for another possible RJ process or pathway.
What happens if I admit responsibility for a policy violation? What sort of confidentiality or privacy does the RJ process have?
In most circumstances, information shared over the course of an RJ process is private and is not shared with other staff on campus. Exceptions under the law and University policy include items such as a subpoena, imminent danger to yourself and/or others, child abuse, sexual violence, and sexual harassment, or employment discrimination. (More information on our policies and procedures specifically relating to sexual violence and sexual harassment can be found here.) In almost all circumstances, matters resolved through the restorative justice pathway will not result in a reportable disciplinary record unless the parties request and agree to that as part of their REPAIR plan.
While the RJ process is meant to be adaptable and an appropriate option for addressing a wide variety of harms, some allegations of institutional policy violations will be ineligible for the RJ process and are more appropriately addressed by our partners in other offices. For matters of harm that do not reach the level of a policy violation in the Berkeley Code of Student Conduct, we offer the Restorative Justice Center as support. A confidential resource for conflict resolution can be found at the Ombuds Office. Sexual violence, sexual harassment, and non-discrimination policy violations are referred to the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination.
Interested in learning more or unsure if your experience would fit? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the restorative justice process or schedule a consultation.
Ready to start an intake process with misconduct you’ve experienced? Let us know here.