History of Mediation at Gavilan College
In fall 2002, a dozen Gavilan employees and students began meeting to talk about the introduction of conflict resolution skills and programs that might benefit Gavilan as an educational institution and as a workplace. Calling itself Conflict Resolution Outreach Group, (CROG) the group decided to focus on two areas: curriculum, and a conflict resolution program that could provide mediations for staff and students in conflict.
The curriculum effort is focused on adding Political Science 6, Intro to Conflict Resolution, to various AA programs.
CROG also discussed beginning a mediation program that would allow trained staff to offer mediation sessions for staff and students. The potential advantages seemed to be fewer lawsuits, fewer dysfunctional work relationships, the building of work relationships when conflicts are successfully resolved, a more harmonious workplace, and empowerment of those who participate in conflict resolution.
In summer 2003, the County of Santa Clara, Office of Human Relations, Dispute Resolution Program called together all colleges in Santa Clara County to form a consortium on conflict resolution. The ODR is offering low-cost trainings for conflict resolution teams at every college campus in the county. OCR will follow up by mentoring the teams, providing free mediators to work with them. The consortium hopes to eventually create a database pool of conflict resolution team members so when a conflict occurs at one site another off-site team can help resolve it. This would build relations between institutions and protect confidentiality for those involved in conflicts. The group will be seeking grants and wishes to include Gavilan, recognizing the importance of serving South County.
After the September consortium meeting the group came away excited by the prospect of bringing conflict resolution to Gavilan. About a dozen employees at Gavilan have expressed an interest in being trained and in bringing a conflict resolution program here. We hope to find enough to round out a training for twenty. The group proposed a training schedule to the Administrative Council last October and was asked to return in January to see if there was Administrative support for scheduling the training. The support was given in January, and twenty employees and students were trained in April. A second training is planned for early 2005, and mediation services will probably be offered sometime in 2005 to students and staff.
Today CROG has renamed itself as the Gavilan Mediation Program, and is working to implement mediation through a steering group, with the help of the administrative staff and campus unions.
The goal of the conflict resolution group is to influence the culture at Gavilan so conflict resolution becomes the norm. Successful resolution of conflict leads employees and students view Gavilan as a positive and caring place to study and work.