Last month, York University’s Office of Student Conflict Resolution (OSCR) – responsible for upholding behavioural expectations and managing critical incidents on campus through early intervention, peer review and tribunals – hosted an appreciation lunch for its 95 volunteers who are integral to the work being done by the office. With the recent completion of its revised non-academic Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities (CSRR), based on information gained from the community, it was time to celebrate the progress and thank everyone involved.
Top row, from left: Carolyn Cannon, critical incident support coordinator & dispute resolution advisor; Fernando Frame, Peer Support Team member; Daryl Nauman, assistant director, Residence Life; Dana Lacarte Maule, senior security official, investigations; Mitchell Burnie, coordinator, Residence Life (Tatham Hall); Debbie Hansen, director, OSCR; Matthew Harris, coordinator, Residence Life (Stong); Marcelle Mullings, dispute resolution advisor, OSCR; Ashley Grenville, Coordinator, Residence Life (Founders). Bottom row, from left: Stephanie Francis, coordinator, Residence Life (Pond); Michelle Smith, York University Tribunal member; Yaa Otchere, Peer Support Team coordinator, OSCR; Karen Lam, Glendon Peer Review Board member; Tammy Douglas, coordinator, Residence Life (Calumet)
While many volunteers couldn’t attend due to timing and inclement weather, the volunteers who made it out had the opportunity to mingle with OSCR staff, local adjudicators, University Tribunal members and partners from both Residence Life and Security Services. After socializing over a light lunch, OSCR Director Debbie Hansen welcomed everyone before passing the microphone over to York’s Vice-Provost Students Janet Morrison, who discussed her past involvement with OSCR and why she truly values its place within the University: “I thought being a local adjudicator was a great way to network across campus and to really understand campus culture. It is, or can be, a tremendous developmental point of contact with students.
“You are challenging [students] to think about their behaviour in a new way, and with the right support, growth is what is realized from this exercise. It’s not a punitive process. And for people who don’t work within it, that’s a really hard piece of the puzzle to understand, and so I think the collaborations and involvement of folks on campus is critical.”
Since Morrison worked as an adjudicator early in her career, she has a special understanding of, and appreciation for, the volunteers and the responsibility they take on by becoming a part of the OSCR team. “I know it’s time consuming, and I know that sometimes it can be very difficult,” she said. “But you do make a difference and I have to believe that you have all had experiences where you saw growth happen. And in your role as educators on the campus, I hope you’ve found [those experiences] as useful as we in the Division [of Students] find them. So thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Certificates of appreciation were then handed out to all the volunteers who were present, including students Karen Lam, a third-year business economics major at Glendon College, who joined the Peer Review Board in fall 2012; Fernando Frame, a Peer Support Team member and professional writing major; and Michelle Smith, a fourth-year political science major and student representative on the York University Tribunal.
Student volunteer opportunities with OSCR exist in the following areas:
- Peer Support Team – provide mentorship to students, run leadership programs and work with York’s HealthAid Network. A roughly two-hour commitment per week is required, in addition to being on call for certain issues in or around residence;
- Peer Review Board – make decisions as a panel on residence cases in violation of the CSRR. The hearings are pre-determined subject to individual schedules;
- York University Tribunal – adjudicate serious breaches of York’s CSRR and review appeals of local adjudication and tribunal hearing decisions. The hearings are pre-determined and scheduled on a rotating basis subject to individual schedules.