JAMS Announces Additional Support for DCP

On Monday June 8, 2020, JAMS issued the following press release in which it announces an additional $100,000 contribution to the Divided Community Project through the JAMS Foundation.  With today’s commitment, JAMS has committed a total of $1 million to the Divided Community Project:

A Message From JAMS President & CEO on Anti-Racism and Diversity

As the CEO of a dispute resolution provider that is driven by a core set of values including neutrality and diversity, the tragic death of George Floyd and the loss of so many other lives has left me, like many throughout the world, angry and sad. We cannot be neutral when it comes to injustice and equality. JAMS must fight against racism, commit to speaking up and stand with those whose voices need to be heard. We are unwavering in our support of diversity and inclusion.

We embrace diversity and recognize that each individual is unique. We strive to listen to each other and celebrate the rich dimensions contained within each person. No matter a person’s age, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, disability or religious beliefs, we value everyone.

JAMS may not have a solution for all that is transpiring right now. However, we want to continue to create a work environment that serves as a safe haven for our associates, panelists and clients. We recognize that not everyone is okay right now, and that in particular our black panelists, staff and clients need to be supported and heard. 

As a leading provider of dispute resolution services, it has always been our mission to bring people together.  As an example, The JAMS Foundation is the leading non-profit in providing financial and other resources for conflict prevention and resolution. They continue to support organizations that specifically address the deep divisions within our country and some of the resulting consequences as we have seen during these past weeks.

As a continuation of those efforts, JAMS through our Foundation is making a $100,000 donation to support ongoing and new efforts of the Divided Community Project’s “Bridge Initiative,” which will bring the overall contribution to $1 million over the last five years. Based at The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, the Divided Community Project is a multi-pronged initiative that aims to bring together a broad coalition of dispute resolution professionals, government leaders, law enforcement officials, community organizers and other stakeholders across the country. This program provides public officials and community leaders with resources and technical support to plan for potential civil unrest before it occurs and to respond constructively to violent social conflict that does erupt. 

The JAMS Foundation has long-standing relationships with, and provides financial assistance, for many conflict resolution and community mediation initiatives such as The New York Peace Institute’s Police Training and Mediation Referral Initiative, which provides training to police officers to de-escalate and resolve conflict and to foster more positive relations with the people and communities they serve.  This program has demonstrated positive results and is pursuing expansion in several cities across the United States. 

Supporting these types of organizations is incredibly important, especially now. We believe in their work and encourage others to learn more about them, which you can do by visiting JAMS Foundation.

We’re proud of the strong relationships that JAMS has built with dispute resolution professionals and community advocates who are fighting racism, injustice and division through focused and meaningful programs.  This is just a starting point. We are dedicated to not only seeing how we can support diversity and inclusion internally, but also being part of a larger solution. While we cannot alter the past, we can work together to create positive change in the future.

Chris Poole
JAMS President and Chief Executive Officer

Smallwood & Stulberg Named DCP Co-Directors

In March 2020, Joseph (“Josh”) B. Stulberg transitioned to serve as the Divided Community Project’s Co-Director.  Josh, recently retired Michael E. Moritz Chair in Alternative Dispute Resolution at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, has been engaged with DCP since its inception in 2015.  One of the nation’s pre-eminent mediator trainers, Professor Stulberg is the only individual to participate in conducting mediator training for the U.S. Attorney General’s original Neighborhood Justice Center programs in Atlanta, Kansas City, and Los Angeles. He has trained nearly 10,000 people across the nation and the world to serve in court, agency-based, or community-based dispute resolution programs. Josh has published more than 60 articles in professional journals on theoretical, policy, and practice issues in dispute resolution.

In May 2020, Carl D. Smallwood joined Josh to serve as DCP’s Co-Director.  A retired partner at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP in Columbus, he focused his community service on diversity/inclusion, particularly on broadening law-related secondary school academic enrichment and post-collegiate educational opportunities for underrepresented and underserved communities. A past president of the National Conference of Bar Presidents, he was the first African American president of the Columbus Bar Association, where he also led the Managing Partners’ Diversity Initiative, a five-year commitment by 22 local law firms to make a concerted effort to recruit, hire, retain, and promote minority lawyers.

Carl has attended each of the Divided Community Project’s conferences at Moritz. He spearheaded the development of – and now chairs – the Greater Columbus Community Trust Initiative, the model ‘community leadership team’ format used in DCP’s National Academy initiatives.

Josh and Carl take over leadership from DCP’s second director, Becky Monroe.  Becky, now leading The Leadership Conference’s Fighting Hate and Bias Initiative, continues to serve on DCP’s Steering Committee and supports the Project’s Bridge Intiative @ Moritz.

Real-World Scenarios for Campus Leaders

by Henry Wu

During this period of polarization in our national life, college and university leaders’ decisions are pivotal. National unrest can quickly manifest into unrest on college and university campuses. But new challenges come with new opportunities. Campus conflicts provide teachable moments — university leaders can encourage students to engage in the issues of the day and learn to advocate, negotiate, facilitate, and understand each other. Preparation is vital to making wise choices in the immediate aftermath of a divisive incident or conflict.

We believe that it can be helpful for college and university leaders to learn from examples at other institutions. Wayne Maines, Vice President, Safety and Operations, Austin Community College, explained that he uses examples of campus conflict or crisis from another institution to engage everyone in the regular cabinet meeting in a 10-minute “what if” scenario where they are asked to talk about how they would respond if confronted with similar facts. The practice of regularly talking about how they would respond has helped clarify roles, identify areas of need, and improve crisis preparedness.

As part of the Divided Community Project’s Virtual Toolkit, we have created several short hypothetical fact patterns about divisive incidents on college and university campuses. These examples discuss a range of important issues. For example, how should university administrators respond to student protests against racial injustice? What role, if any, should campus police play when there is student unrest? What policies should schools consider to ensure student safety/well-being and to protect free speech on campus? These are only some of the questions that are worth discussing. We encourage campus leaders to carefully think through each example, talk through the steps that one would take, consider relevant questions, and develop actionable plans.

The fact patterns are available here.

DCP Launches Campus Academy Initiative

The Divided Community Project (DCP) invites teams of college and university leaders to apply to for the Divided Community Project’s Campus Academy, scheduled to take place on August 9-11, 2020, and simultaneously conducted at the host campuses of The Ohio State University (Columbus, OH) and Menlo College (Atherton, CA in the Bay Area).  The Academy will take place either with teams meeting in-person at the host sites and connected to each other virtually or entirely online, depending on what seems wise given the course of the pandemic.

Applicaitons are due Friday June 5 – Click here to review the application! 

The program’s goals are three-fold:

  1. Strengthen conflict resolution-related planning and capacity building.
  2. Support and strengthen the development of a local ‘core’ leadership convener group for a handful of campuses.
  3. Provide planning opportunities for each core leadership group.

The project invites “core leadership groups” to apply.  Ideally, a core leadership group will include six to eight individuals.  The goal is to form a leadership team that includes both those who would be at the table when decisions are made when a divisive incident or conflict arises on campus and those who would implement planning to improve the resilience and readiness of the campus.  These might include, for example, two representatives from the president’s or provost’s office, a representative from diversity and inclusion leadership (may overlap with the first category), a campus police representative, a faculty leader, a communications expert, a student affairs staff member, and a student leader.

Applicaitons are due Friday June 5 – Click here to review the application! 

Funding for this initiative is provided by the Jacques M. Littlefield Foundation.

Thomas Battles to Lead DCP’s Bridge Initiative

Effective in February 2020, Thomas Battles joined the Divided Community Project as the Lead Mediator of the Project’s Bridge Initiative @ Moritz.

Mr. Battles recently retired as a regional director for the Community Relations Service (CRS) division of the United States Department of Justice. The unit was established by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to serve as a “peacemaker” in communities with tension from race, color and national origin-related conflicts. It is the only federal agency dedicated to working with state, local officials, and community groups in, “restoring racial stability and harmony” in regions impacted by racial tension. In 2009, the agency’s mission was broadened to include hate crimes related to gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion and disability.

Mr. Battles became a regional director in 2003 — overseeing eight states including Florida — after working more than two decades in a front line role in Miami, Florida. As a director, he was responsible for mediating racial and ethnic disputes. His unit gained national attention in 2012 during the racial unrest that erupted in Sanford, Florida, after an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin, was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman.

Harvard Podcast features DCP

Release on March 10, 2020, DCP is featured on the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program podcast Thanks for Listening.  Titled “Listening for the Divide“, podcast hosts Sara del Nido Budish and Neil McGaraghan interview Becky Monroe and Bill Froehlich about DCP’s work.  The podcast and an accompanying transcript are available on HNMCP’s website.

This description is pulled from HNMCP’s website:

Welcome to the sixth episode of our podcast, Thanks for Listening!

What can communities do to bridge divides and address simmering tensions before they boil over? Our guests on this episode, Becky Monroe and Bill Froelich, ask this question each day in their work at the Divided Community Project, based at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University.  As we heard in Episode 3, facilitated dialogue helped communities in MN heal in the traumatic aftermath of the killing of Philando Castile. The Divided Community Project supports communities seeking to reach across divides and engage tension before it boils over, and builds their capacity to engage when a crisis does erupt.  Join us in this episode as Becky and Bill describe the origins of the Divided Community Project, the challenges of surfacing underlying and long-standing tensions, and how they engage with communities to “listen for the divide.”

DCP Hosts Second Academy Initiative

On March 1, 2 and 3, 2020 DCP hosted the Project’s Second Academy Intiative in Chicago, Illinois.  Working in partnership with the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution, DCP used its reports, case studies, simulations, and tools to train diverse leadership groups from four communities:

  1. Bloomington, Indiana
  2. Charlotte, North Carolina
  3. Indianapolis, Indiana
  4. Midwest City, Oklahoma

Funded by the AAA-ICDR Foundation, the Academy is desinged to

  1. Strengthen conflict resolution-related planning and capacity building.
  2. Support and strengthen the development of a local ‘core’ leadership convener group for four communities.
  3. Provide planning opportunities for each core leadership group.

Second Edition of Core DCP Reports Released

First published in 2016, the Divided Community project is proud to announce the release of the second edition of its core documents, Key Considerations for Leaders Facing Community Unrest and Planning in Advance of Community Unrest.  Both documents were updated with The Ohio State University’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.

The second edition of Planning in Advance

. . . distills lessons from recent experience with community unrest that can be useful to those who want to have a plan in place before turbulence occurs. Each community can adapt these general lessons as its leaders prepare a plan tailored to their community and the reasons for division within that community. The planning suggestions offered in this document can be used to assess and improve the resilience of a community, to identify issues and create ways to address them before they cause an eruption, and to be prepared to deal constructively with unrest if it occurs.

The recommended strategies do not stifle the public expression of concerns and emotions in large group settings. Indeed, the strategies recognize the key role protest and unrest play in a  democracy. Rather, the message offered in this document
reflects the conclusions of experienced mediators, public  officials, and advocacy group leaders that communities with division need not become polarized communities with groups that have stopped listening to opposing viewpoints, have demonized those who subscribe to them, and are prone to destructive and violent community unrest. Instead, communities can develop effective ways to solve problems even in the midst of differences and avid advocacy for change. They can also gain by being ready in the event that community unrest occurs, either as the result of local concerns or outside groups
seeking to use a local event to express concerns about a national issue.

The second edition of Key Considerations

. . . addresses key considerations for leaders faced with these difficult situations.  The first section provides suggestions leaders can employ to help their communities handle the immediate aftermath of a divisive incident. These considerations include: bringing in skilled mediators to help mediate the conflict and assist in developing strategies at every step; working with law enforcement, key stakeholders, and the media; defining and framing the issues; and building trust. The second section deals with longer-term strategies for addressing the causes of conflict. The goal of the strategies is to facilitate the constructive expression of concern and to guide this advocacy to enduring resolutions rather than to violence and deeper bitterness.  Each of the suggestions includes some possible strategies for implementation and an illustration of the strategy in practice. The Appendix lists resources for securing additional information.

DCP Hosts Convening Targeting Campus Division

Approaches by college and university leaders that seemed constructive a few years ago when conflicts or divisive incidents occurred on campus may meet different reactions today.  Intensified conflict and increased hate incidents on campuses parallel the increasingly rancorous national political debate.  Some portions of society, and therefore of the campus community, may feel disrespected and under attack.   Some students may become further alienated if others, those who are neither targeted nor most directly affected, seem dismissive when these students speak out.  Students advocating a progressive agenda for change are more likely today to spark a conservative counter movement, and vice versa.  To add to the challenge, information, including false information, now travels swiftly on social media, and events unfold at a rapid pace.  Though most of this activity is entirely peaceful, the obligation to protect the safety of students and others understandably looms large in the minds of administrators.

While these changed dynamics present challenges, they also create new opportunities for higher education leaders.  Campus conflicts provide teachable moments, a time to encourage students to engage in the issues of the day and learn to advocate, negotiate, facilitate and understand each other.  Students become motivated to understand the relationships between democracy and constitutional rights.  If offered counseling and other support, they may grow in character and compassion.

Given the heightened challenges and opportunities, and the importance of getting it right, it may be helpful for college and university leaders to learn from the experience of their colleagues at other institutions. Experience that these leaders have can provide insight into additional alternative strategies, including those that allow for both learning and safety, for both inclusion and freedom of expression, and for the development of future leaders.

On January 10, 2020, the Divided Community Project convened nearly four dozen leaders (in person and via ZOOM) to listen for sound strategies that leaders facing division have found useful or wish that they had tried and sharing their valuable experience with other leaders.  Thanks to support from the Kettering Fundation DCP anticipates developing two reports providing guidance for campus leaders:

  1. Key Considerations for Colleg and University Leaders When Conflcits and Divisive Incidents Arise
  2. Key Considerations for University Leaders: Preparing the Campus at a Time of National Polarization

DCP anticipates releasing both reports publicly in late March.

OSU’s Lantern Highlights DCP’s Work

On October 17, 2019, Ohio State University’s student newspaper, The Lantern, featured the Divided Community Project.  The article highlighted how the JAMS Foundation’s recent $300,000 commitment to the project will enhance and sustain the Project through the 2021 calendar year.

DCP Director Becky Monroe is quoted saying, “Our mission is to help local leaders strengthen community efforts to transform division into action.” Deputy Director William Froehlich highlighted DCP’s connection to Moritz’s top-ranked Program on Dispute Resolution, “We take mediation concepts and skills we teach in classes here and apply them to communities with division and tension.”

Take a look at the full article here.