Students look to Center for Conflict Resolution

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    By Allison Fors

    Students resolving impossible conflicts, whether with a roommate, landlord or family member, can look to BYU”s Center for Conflict Resolution to help peacefully determine a solution.

    When a dispute feels helpless and exhausted in useless efforts, there are answers other than continuing to suffer through the frustration. Many BYU students have, are or will experience the drudgery and aggravation of settling problems with roommates and landlords.

    “I lived with a roommate that kept me in fear,” said Marie Sonnenberg, a senior from Salt Lake City majoring in communications. “I had to keep my bedroom door locked, and I never knew when she”d lash out and throw things at me.”

    Sonnenberg is one of the many BYU students that just tried to live with the problem and didn”t know about other possibilities or answers.

    “I would never live in that situation again,” Sonnenberg said. “I didn”t know about conflict resolution counseling, but I would definitely go if I had to live through that again and couldn”t find another way out.”

    The Center for Conflict Resolution helps students learn how to talk out their problems and then take other measures if a resolution still can”t be settled.

    “The center provides an opportunity for parties to come together and make a binding agreement that couldn”t have been reached otherwise,” said John Pace, manager of the Center for Conflict Resolution. “Mediators and arbitrators are available to help discuss the disagreement impartially and help the parties reach a conclusion.”

    A written contract, a verbal agreement or even a legally binding decision are ways in which the center helps determine solutions. Pace said there is also a pamphlet of scriptures that can help resolve arguments and help give guidance and comfort.

    “Our mission is to handle disputes involving students and another party, without litigation, through making a genuine attempt to understand each other”s views,” Pace said.

    General Manager of Off-campus Housing, Garry Briggs, said the Off-campus Housing Office can also help reach a solution with disputes involving a landlord if talking has not helped resolved the conflicts.

    Before further measures should be taken, Pace suggested seriously talking to the other party.

    “Patience and long-suffering are key in resolving conflicts,” Pace said.

    If these attempts fail, students are encouraged to seek further guidance with the center.

    There is also a two-credit class, Student Development 214R, available Fall 2004 that teaches conflict communication techniques.

    See 4412 WSC, the Center for Conflict Resolution, or visit the Web site http://ccr.byu.edu for more information.

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