In most communities, even Christian academic ones like Redeemer, people do “bad” things once in a while. When that happens, people can get hurt and the entire community can be damaged. In working with situations where harm has occurred or there has been a break in community of some kind, Student Life has begun to explore ways to bring about a better outcome than that achieved through a purely punitive response. The result has been the introduction of a practice known as restorative justice. “Instead of focusing on punishment, restorative justice holds core values of participation, respect, honesty, humility, interconnectedness, accountability, empowerment and hope,” explains Dr. Karen Cornies, Dean of Students. “It focuses on repairing the harm, restoring broken relationships and rebuilding the community.” Under specific circumstances, the Restorative Justice Process can be used to address violations of Redeemer’s Student Code of Conduct instead of the traditional process. Through this process, all involved parties meet and determine together a series of positive actions. These are written into a binding agreement between participants, and Student Life staff follows up to ensure the actions are completed by the agreed upon date. “Participants are given the opportunity to collaboratively learn from mistakes through active restoration in matters of misconduct or significant relational stress, says Dr. Cornies. “It promotes the reconciliation of those who have been injured or estranged, encourages students to take responsibility by holding them accountable for their actions including making restitution for damages, and enables the restoration of an individual to his or her place in the community.” This option was recommended when the Student Conduct Code was reviewed last year, and will take effect in September, 2013. In cases where restorative justice fails to address adequately the harms caused, students will face the traditional judicial process and be subject to the terms of the Student Code of Conduct. For more information, visit www.restorativejustice.org.