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Campus Mediation Services records

 Collection 0083-UA
Interested faculty, staff, and graduate students founded Campus Mediation Services (CMS) during the fall 1979 semester in response to a perceived increase in tensions at the University of Maryland, College Park. Until CMS ceased operations in 1986, the organization's volunteer mediators helped students, faculty, staff and College Park residents reach mutually satisfactory agreements to resolve interpersonal disputes. The records of Campus Mediation Services cover the period from 1978 to 1987, with the bulk of the records dating from 1982 to 1986.

Document types represented in the collection include correspondence, funding proposals, conference schedules and a speech, brochures, a survey report, newspaper clippings and other reading materials, a handbook, and sample forms. Subjects represented in the collection are the discipline of conflict resolution, fundraising, staff development, campus program development, community relations, mediation procedures, and actual disputes brought to CMS for resolution.

Dates

  • 1979-1987 and undated
  • Majority of material found within 1982-1986

Use and Access to Collection

Materials of a sensitive nature, such as those containing personally identifiable information, are restricted for 75 years or the life of the individual and may by screened and removed by special collections staff. Please speak with a staff member if you believe that materials have been unnecessarily removed.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Extent

0.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

The Campus Mediation Services records cover the period from 1978 to 1987, with the bulk of the records dating from 1982 to 1986. Document types represented in the collection include correspondence, funding proposals, conference schedules and a speech, brochures, a survey report, newspaper clippings and other reading materials, a handbook, and sample forms. Subjects represented in the collection are the discipline of conflict resolution, fundraising, staff development, campus program development, community relations, mediation procedures, and actual disputes brought to CMS for resolution.

Administrative History

Interested faculty, staff, and graduate students founded Campus Mediation Services (CMS) during the fall 1979 semester in response to a perceived increase in tensions at the University of Maryland, College Park. Spurred on by innovative leadership at the Counseling Center, CMS organizers conducted several surveys of university groups and departments in order to gauge their understanding of the need for conflict resolution service on campus; moreover, CMS volunteers targeted these surveys to groups reported by the Diamondback as experiencing high levels of conflict and tension. In establishing CMS, its founders hoped to address the many interpersonal problems described in these surveys and articles. In support of this purpose, a secondary aim for the organization was to create a pool of certified mediators as a resource for the campus.

From its inception, CMS worked as an independent program, reporting to no campus administrative unit and run entirely by volunteers. The program did, however, receive support and some limited resources from the Counseling Center, where many of the volunteers also worked. Chief contributors Franklin Westbrook (Director), Rebecca Williams (Coordinator of Services), and Arnold Medvene (Mediator) formed the core of CMS, providing it with their leadership, organizational skills, and mediation experience. At its peak in the early to mid-1980s, as many as eight fully certified mediators and eight apprentice mediators staffed CMS. The Friends Suburban Project of Philadelphia provided early training for CMS mediators, while a number of newer mediators received certification in fall 1981 at a training event hosted by the National Center for Collaborative Planning and Community Services of Boston. From the time a description of CMS appeared in a 1983 edition of the University of Massachusetts's Mediation Bulletin, many interested colleagues from other universities corresponded with CMS volunteers to learn more about the program's aims, structure, services, and procedures.

CMS provided conflict resolution workshops, pamphlets, and presentations, as well as third-party intervention and information referral services; campus police, residence hall personnel, and students constituted the CMS's primary clientele for these services. Particularly in cases requiring conflict resolution between students, referrals to CMS came from the Office of Judicial Programs, the Student Legal Aid Office, the University Police Department, the Office of Human Relations Programs, the Office of Resident Life, and campus clergy. Cases brought to CMS ranged from minor roommate disputes to grave academic offenses. The CMS mediation process consisted of a series of voluntary meetings to air the grievances of all parties to a dispute, to establish common ground between disputants, and to define and agree upon a settlement plan. Following the conclusion of mediation in a given case, CMS mediators followed up by checking with participants to ensure that all parties' actions and expectations conformed to the plan.

Despite its brief tenure on campus, CMS met with considerable success. As Dr. Franklin Westbrook recalled in a 2005 interview conducted by the University of Maryland, CMS managed to provide outreach to a broad, diverse set of campus constituents, while employing non-traditional means to reach mutually satisfactory agreements. Thus for many students, CMS constituted a timely and approachable alternative to other, more bureaucratic methods of dispute settlement. Indeed, CMS volunteers reported consistently high levels of satisfaction among past mediation participants and noted an increase in referrals from them.

Even as demand for the program's services continued to expand through the mid-1980s, a lack of funds and full-time staff plagued CMS. The desire of CMS's founders to keep the program independent from the oversight of established campus administrative units and, thus, to confer upon it a neutral, impartial image also meant that it had no official claim on campus resources. The need to solidify its funding and staffing drove CMS volunteers to seek support from the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, the Counseling Center, the Office of Human Relations Programs, and other, external sources. Ultimately, the lack of a permanent, dedicated staff and budget undermined CMS's ability to meet the demand for its services.

In October 1986, the staff of CMS decided to disband the service and informed referring units that CMS would no longer be able to accept new requests for mediation. The memorandum they issued cited a lack of university funding and support as a factor in the demise of CMS and drew attention to a new mediation program emerging at that time through a partnership between the City of College Park and the Office of Student Affairs. This new initiative arose from a heightened interest among community leaders in establishing a program whose mediators would undergo training and jointly resolve concerns common to campus and community members.

The experience of establishing and administering CMS also paved the way for future services initiated by the Counseling Center. Dr. Westbrook credits the mediation work with aiding in the establishment of a current initiative to identify and aid groups affected by traumatic events, including Campus Police and Counseling Center staff members.

Arrangement

This collection is divided into two series:
Series 1
Administrative Files
Series 2
Reading Material

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Rebecca O. Williams, a psychometrist on the staff of the University of Maryland Counseling Center, transferred the records of Campus Mediation Services to the University of Maryland Libraries in February 1987.

Related Material

Materials related to this collection may be found in the Records of the Counseling Center in the University of Maryland. They include the administrative files of the University of Maryland, College Park Counseling Center from the period immediately preceding Campus Meditations Service's inception.

Separated Material

The following items were removed from the collection and presented to other Library departments to consider for addition into the general collection.

Books
  1. Chambers, M. M. The Colleges and the Courts: The Developing Law of the Student and the College. Danville, IL: The Interstate Printers & Publishers, Inc., 1972.
  2. Ratliff, Richard C. Constitutional Rights of College Students. Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1972.
Manuals / Brochures
  1. McGillis, Daniel and Joan Mullen. Neighborhood Justice Centers: An Analysis of Potential Models. [Washington D.C.]: Office of Development, Testing, and Dissemination, National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, U. S. Department of Justice, 1977.
  2. Bridenback, Michael L., Patrick L. Imhof, and Jack B. Planchard. Citizen Dispute Settlement: Guideline Manual. 2nd edition. [Tallahassee, FL]: Dispute Resolution Alternatives Project, January 1981.
  3. Jones, George W. The Public University and Religious Practice: An Inquiry into University Provision for Campus Religious Life. Muncie, IN: Ball State University, 1973.

Processing Information

All duplicates have been discarded. All paper clips and staples have been removed and replaced by plastic clips. Collection materials have been put into acid-fee folders and boxes. Restricted materials have been removed from the original folder and foldered separately, and placeholders have been inserted instead in the original folder. Newspaper clippings have been photocopied and the originals discarded. Reading materials have been retained when they were referenced by or helped to explain the administrative records of CMS. Reading materials that did not appear to directly bear upon the establishment or functioning of CMS have been discarded or transferred from the collection.
Title
Guide to the Campus Mediation Services records
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Kim Braun.
Date
2005-04-01
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742
301-405-9212