The Mediation Program provides dispute resolution services for SJSU students experiencing a conflict with another student, friend, roommate, classmate, significant other, or a member of the university.

In mediation, a neutral third-party facilitates communication between disputing parties so they can work through their differences and reach agreement. The mediators don't take sides and don't make judgments. They are there to help the parties talk things through in a constructive, effective manner.

Mediation is a way for parties to get issues cleared up before the situation gets out of hand or more formal processes need to take effect. This way the parties come up with a solution on their own rather than having an outside authority decide for them.

Why Choose Mediation?

  • Mediation is a way for you to proactively address a conflict situation in a constructive manner.
  • Mediation provides a safe, confidential forum where you can be heard and feel respected.
  • Mediation allows the participants to decide on a solution, instead of having someone else decide for them.
  • Mediation is an alternative to violence. Parties proactively address conflict before it gets out of hand.

The Mediation Program cannot mediate cases between staff or faculty members. If you are faculty or staff member in a dispute please contact Sarah Khan, Organization Development & Training Manager,Human Resources at 408-924-2142for available options.

Mediation Process

In mediation, the disputing parties agree to meet with two neutral, third-parties at a specified location on campus. These mediators assist participants in creating an environment where each person feels safe, respected and heard. At the end of the meeting, both parties leave with a jointly-developed agreement that outlines steps each person will take to resolve the conflict.

Interpersonal Conflict

If you are in conflict with a friend, a roommate, a classmate, a family member, a significant other, a neighbor, landlord, a member of the University faculty or staff, or just about anyone else you know, and believe things could be resolved if you just talked them through, then mediation is for you. In mediation a neutral third party facilitates communication between disputing parties so they can reach, on their own, a solution that works for everyone.

Facilitated Group Discussions

Are you a member of a group or student organization that is experiencing conflict within the group/organization or with another group/organization? We can provide facilitated discussions that explore issues, find solutions that work for everyone and get the group/ organization back on track.

Mediation is Confidential

Everything that is discussed during the mediation session cannot be discussed with anyone unless the parties specifically agree.

Mediation is a Voluntary Process

All parties who agree to mediate their dispute must be willing to work through the problem by hearing the other person out, offering up solutions for settling the dispute, and negotiating an agreement.

The one-to-three-hour session comprises four phases:

  • Opening statement - each participant describes his or her understanding of the conflict to the mediators.
  • Building understanding - through dialogue, participants explore each other's needs and interests in order to establish understanding and find common ground.
  • Brainstorming- participants generate possible solutions to the dispute based on the mutual understanding.
  • Agreement- participants agree upon a fair and achievable solution.

At any time during the mediation, the mediators may ask to speak confidentially with the parties separately, in a confidential meeting called a caucus. Any one of the disputing parties may also ask for a caucus with the mediators.

The mediator can choose to terminate the session if there are safety concerns and/or the parties are not acting in good faith. Come with an open mind, be ready to listen, and be willing to negotiate an agreement.

The Role of a Mediator

Our volunteer mediators are SJSU students, faculty and staff trained in communication and conflict-resolution. As neutral, third parties they maintain an impartial viewpoint throughout the mediation session and do not take sides. Their job is to facilitate the process, maintain a safe, comfortable environment, and help participants communicate effectively.

  • Mediators are not judges.
  • Mediators are not counselors.
  • Mediators do not provide advice nor suggest solutions.
  • Mediators treat disputing parties with respect and compassion.

What Can Be Mediated

Here are some examples of situations that can be mediated. This list is not comprehensive. If you don't see your situation listed, please contact the Mediation Center and we can help you decide if mediation is an appropriate option for resolving your dispute.

  • interpersonal conflict between roommates, classmates, friends, or family-members
  • romantic-relationship disputes
  • on-going tension that exists between a student and a faculty or staff member
  • conflicts that stem from issues of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation
  • disputes with landlords or merchants
  • conflicts between members of class project groups
  • group conflicts within or between student organizations
  • group conflicts between members of committees
  • disputes between the organization and one of its members
  • neighborhood disputes involving students or student organizations
  • tension between members of a student organization
  • disagreement among leadership committees about an organization's mission or activities
  • disputes between the organization and one of its members

Requesting Mediation

To request a mediation for yourself or someone please call the Office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development at 924-5985. When you call us, we will ask for your understanding of the dispute and contact information for the other parties involved. We will then contact the other parties and invite them to mediation. If they agree to participate, we will schedule a mediation session on campus with two volunteer mediators.

We will try to accommodate the parties' needs as best we can.

Prior to the mediation, you will receive copies of the mediation participation and confidentiality agreement. You will be asked to sign these forms at the beginning of the mediation session, so please review them carefully.

Note: The Mediation Center cannot mediate cases between staff or faculty members. If you are faculty or staff member in a dispute please contact Sarah Khan, Organization Development & Training Manager, Human Resources at 408-924-2142 for visit our Faculty & Staff Resources available options.

Requesting Group Facilitation

To request a group facilitation using mediation or one of the other collaborative communication approaches, please call the Mediation Program at (408) 924-5985 or stop by our office the Administration Building, Room 218. We will work in consultation with you so you can decide the best approach for reaching your group's long-term goals. We will then help you find qualified facilitators and help you plan and schedule a facilitated discussion for your group.

The Mediation Program provides free workshops in conflict management and conflict resolution skills for students, student organizations, academic or administrative departments.

Our workshops teach communication and dispute resolution skills through group discussions, exercises and role plays to better enable participants to manage conflict constructively as it occurs.

Workshop topics include:

  • A Constructive Approach to Conflict
  • Conflict Resolution 101
  • Breaking the Ice: Making Difficult Conversations Constructive
  • Living Together Peacefully: Benefiting from Roommate Differences

Requesting a Workshop

To request a workshop, please call (408) 924-5985, email us, or stop by the in Administration Building 218.


These sites are excellent resources for learning how to manage conflict constructively.

CIOS Conflict Management

University of Wisconsin-Madison Online Training in Conflict Resolution