What Is The CRP?
The Center for Restorative Practices houses a campus-wide collaborative effort spearheaded by students, administrators, faculty, and staff with the goal of incorporating restorative philosophies and practices into the Amherst College community. The CRP identifies, builds, and coalesces a set of programs and resources with the intention to build community and prepare all members to deal with the inevitable conflict that will arise even as we work to create a more inclusive Amherst.
The CRP allows us to model our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion while focusing on relationships, community, and belonging. Restorative practices are both proactive (e.g., building community, organizing meetings, and fostering collaborative decision making) and reactive (e.g., managing conflict).
As a proactive tool, restorative circles provide a safe, supportive, and structured environment for participants to deepen their connection and sense of community through collaborative learning, experiential activities, and readings. These lay the foundation for community members to address and manage harm and conflict as they arise. Circles are co-facilitated by trained and experienced members of the Amherst community.
In response to conflict, restorative practices give voice to, and center the needs of, those who have been harmed. Instead of addressing conflict simply as a violation of school policy, restorative practices focus on the harm done to people, relationships, and the community as a result of the conflict. Those who caused the harm are then encouraged to acknowledge, take accountability for, and address the consequences of the harm caused by their actions. The ultimate goals of restorative practices are to address and repair harm, and rebuild relationships between individuals and communities when fractures do occur.