WLU creates conflict resolution position


Newly hired senior advisor of dispute resolution and support, Dawn Riker. (Photo courtesy of WLU).
Newly hired senior advisor of dispute resolution and support, Dawn Riker. (Photo courtesy of WLU).

At the start of the winter semester the position of senior advisor of dispute resolution and support was created at Wilfrid Laurier University, and was filled by Dawn Ricker, to assist students in conflict resolution. The goal of the position, according to Ricker, is to help students and faculty de-escalate conflict at the early stages of a conflict to prevent larger problems.

“The position was created to deal with any kind of conflict someone brings forward [who is] a member of the university,” said Ricker.

This new position was formalized as a full-time position in Jan. Prior to that Ricker was working part-time on the Laurier campus in the same capacity since November.

The new position offers both students and staff an opportunity to have  non-bias opinions help  mediate any sort of conflict that they are experiencing. The conflicts can be any range of issue that needs de-escalating.

Ricker assists students in solving a wide range of inter-personal conflicts. The goal is to help students in a way, which best fits, their conflict. That can range from a brain storming session to hands on mediation. The conflict resolving sessions do not have to take place in a formal setting either. “People don’t have to come to my office,” said Ricker. “I’ll go wherever people feel comfortable meeting”

Ricker explained she is not here to be involved in disciplinary actions; her role is that of a mediator and to help find a solution for those who have a conflict before it becomes a larger problem.

The position of SADRS has already been a success, as Ricker has met with some students. The hope is that as awareness of the position increases, more students will make use of the resource to help handle conflicts.

“Interpersonal struggles or conflicts can’t get resolved and [if] somebody wants a little advice or help, that’s what the office is here for,” explained Ricker. “I think the position with the university has a potential to make a real difference in bringing people together.”

Michael Onabolu, president and CEO of WLUSU, discussed the position and said it was an opportunity for students and faculty to have access to a mediator.

Onabolu also said “this was more of a university initiative.” He sees the position as one that will be helpful to the campus and offers a valuable opportunity to students and staff.

Although many students are not yet aware of this new position, the ones who have heard of it have shown an interested in utilizing it as a productive resource.

Willum Kelly, a third-year kinesiology major, said he was unaware of the new position, but thought it would be nice to have help in dealing with conflicts as they arise.

The position of SADRS is here to help students and faculty in their interpersonal conflicts to reach resolutions that do not require formal complaints or other drastic measures on the behalf of those involved.



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