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Campus Conflict Abstracts from the Early 1990s

Boyer, E. (1990). Campus Life: In Search of Community. Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press.

This Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Report explores a "breakdown of civility" on campuses. The national survey conducted while preparing the report finds that 77% of chief student affairs officers support the development of better procedures for handling complaints and grievances, and a full 85% indicate that the provision of conflict resolution workshops is a priority.

Collision, M. (5/2/1990). Negotiation, Not Violence, Is the Rule Today When Students Clash With Administrators. The Chronicle of Higher Education: 30-32, 44.

This news article examines trends in administrators' response to student protest. In the 20 years since the bloody confrontations at Jackson State College and Kent State University, college presidents are said to have become more likely to meet student protesters at the negotiating table than to call in the police. This article notes that in the 1990's, "conflict management" is a basic concern of student administrators. Although many administrators interviewed say they try hard to negotiate with students, they will call in the police if they feel the protesters have become too disruptive. But in contrast to the protests of the 60's, student activism is now marked by civility. Rules are spelled out far in advance of protests to limit surprises and possible violence.

Hively, R. E. (1990). The Lurking Evil: Racial and Ethnic Conflict on the College Campus, American Association of State Colleges and Universities Washington D.C. (Based on the Conference "The President's Role in Creating a Healthy Campus Racial and Ethnic Climate", Washington, DC, October 10-11, 1989).

This publication represents the views of a group of university presidents who met on the White House grounds and at the National Capital to survey the rise in violence in all American universities and to assist in appraising and solving the pressing problems that arise from racial and ethnic tensions on the country's campuses.

Persico, Sabastian T. (1990). Dispute Resolution in Higher Education: The Use of Ombudsmanship, Mediation, and Arbitration in the Settlement of Faculty Grievances. ED.D. Thesis, Harvard University.

The stated purpose of this thesis is to help institutions of higher education better understand the nature of faculty disputes, and better determine which dispute resolution methods are most effective in resolving faculty grievances. It represents the first comparative study of the impact of three distinct dispute resolution methods--ombudsmanship, mediation and arbitration--on the resolution of a common body of faculty disputes.

Rowe, Mary. (4/1990). People Who Feel Harrassed Need a Complaint System With Both Formal and Informal Options. Negotiation Journal: 161-171.

Rowe, an experienced organizational ombudsperson at MIT makes the case that university community members experiencing harassment like to have choices in addition to formal grievance mechanisms and quite often prefer informal options like mediation.

Gadlin, Howard. (1991). Careful Maneuvers: Mediating Sexual Harassment. Negotiation Journal 7: 139.

The author, an academic ombudsperson, discusses some of the characteristics of sexual harassment disputes at colleges and universities and then examines the strategic use of mediation for certain types of cases.

Gmelch, Walter. H. and J. B. Carroll (1991). The Three Rs of Conflict Management for Department Chairs and Faculty. Innovative Higher Education 16(2): 107-123.

A discussion of conflict in academic departments describes current philosophies in conflict resolution, including a principled approach emphasizing positive benefits. Structures within organizations that inherently create conflict are identified, and various strategies for dealing with conflict are outlined based on one theory of response modes.

Volpe, M. and R. Witherspoon (1992). Mediation and Cultural Diversity on College Campuses. Mediation Quarterly 9(4): 341-51.

An exploration of how mediation could be used, both formally & informally, to handle conflicts involving cultural diversity on college campuses. Mediation is also considered as a model for establishing other creative forums such as town hall meetings in which members of the college community could express their concerns about cultural diversity. Examples are drawn from personal experiences in using mediation on campus.

Carlton, J. (1993). Working It Out (Construction Partnering Sessions). Successful Meetings 42(12): 102-107.

Partnering seeks to provide trust and open communication in the relationship between participants. A partnering session held over a construction job at a California college is discussed. The opposing factions come together and work out resolutions to their problems, and avoid suing each other and the school. The typical partnering session lasts just 2 days, with up to 16 hours of group counseling, and costs between $6000 and $12,000. The process has proven to be effective in mediating conflicts before they arise on construction jobs. Among contractors, testimonials abound for how well partnering works. Partnering seeks to provide trust and open communication in the relationship between participants. A partnering session held over a construction job at a California college is discussed. The opposing factions come together and work out resolutions to their problems, and avoid suing each other and the school.

Williams, Kathleen. (1993) Teacher Student Conflict: An Exploration of Student Perceptions. Ph.D. Dissertation, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

This study explored college students' (N = 277) perceptions of conflict with college instructors based on data collected from open and closed ended questionnaires and interviews. More specifically, it examined the connection between students' expectations of teacher competence, students' perceptions of teacher immediacy, and the likelihood of conflict based on these variables. In addition, this study also examined what attributions students make in conflict, what conflict strategies students use to resolve conflicts and what effect conflict outcome has on students ratings of expectations and immediacy.

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Page last updated 11/27/2005

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Supported by a FIPSE grant from the US Department of Education
and seed money from the Hewlett Foundation-funded CRInfo project.

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