Every October, universities around Colorado participate in a state-wide Conflict Resolution Month. At Colorado State University, Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services uses the month to promote the office’s services to students and will bring two keynote speakers to campus.
Caralee Frederic will speak on resolving conflict in relationships on Oct. 6 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the room 324 in the Lory Student Center.
“I think students are excited to be a part in a relationship, but when things go a little south or when things go awry, (students ask),‘Well, how do I manage this relationship?’” said Craig Chesson, director of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services.
The second speaker, psychologist Rusty Sanders, will speak on solving conflicts at work in LSC 324 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 21.
Both of these events are free and require no prior registration.
Melissa Emerson, the associate director of Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services, said that many students are in the workplace right now and may not recognize that generation gaps might impact conflicts in the workplace.
“The speaker for this is going to talk about how coming from a different age range and background can influence how we navigate conflict and our communication styles,” Emerson said.
Chesson said that this month is used to publicize resources that Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services offers. One of the more popular services is conflict coaching. According to Chesson, they will give students the tools to manage any sort of conflict they are having.
“(Students) will say, ‘Don’t tell me what to do. Teach me how I can help,’” Chesson said.
Chesson also said they work with students on restorative justice, which occurs when a student does something that negatively affects others and the student wants to mend those relationships or apologize. Conflict Resolution can help the student do that through mediated discussions or meetings.
“It’s one of our most impactful educational tools that we have here,” Chesson said.
Emerson said they have conflict resolution services for all students whether the conflict is on or off campus. The top reason students come to the office is for grade appeals, which is for student who disagree with a grade they received from an instructor.
“While our office can’t advocate for any one party, we can certainly education them about the grade appeal process that exists,” Emerson said. “And, a lot of times, it’s just conflict coaching (that they need).”
Chesson said the sooner you try to solve a conflict you are having, the better.
“The biggest piece (of solving conflicts) is not waiting,” Chesson said. “The longer you wait, we’re limited in our options.”
Students can come into the office in Aylesworth Hall or go to the Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services website to make an initial appointment, Emerson said.
“We like to try to normalize conflict. It happens,” Emerson said. “Conflict can be an opportunity to improve relationships and improve communication.”
Collegian Assistant News Editor Sady Swanson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @saddyswan.