Restorative Practices

Founded in response to student and faculty demand, the Center for Restorative Practices takes a proactive approach to harm and seeks to bring the community together.

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Center for Restorative Practices

On January 18, 2021, a group of Amherst College students joined a discussion circle hosted by the Center for Restorative Practices to reflect on their challenges, hopes, and visions as we collectively work towards the world Dr. King dared to dream up.

The Center for Restorative Practices

Our Vision

The Center for Restorative Practices fosters an inclusive, engaging campus climate where all members have the tools and experiences necessary to engage in meaningful, restorative dialogue around community and conflict; where conflict management is not viewed as an end in and of itself, but where transforming conflict is seen as a pathway to a stronger, caring and more just community.

To do this, we aim to answer these two transformational questions:

  • What skills do we need to prevent, respond to, heal from, and take accountability for harmful, discriminatory, and harassing behaviors?
  • What campus infrastructure do we need to support a more inclusive campus?

A photo of Allen Hart The CRP is working towards transformational change by reimagining how we engage, live with, and respect each other, focusing on restorative community building and education.
PROFESSOR ALLEN HART, Director of the Center for Restorative Practices

An Overview of the CRP

What

A campus-wide collaborative effort to incorporate restorative philosophies and practices into the Amherst community

Why

To prioritize the building, maintaining, and, when harmed, repairing of relationships between all members of the community

How

By teaching, learning, and practicing how to engage in conflict we understand our impact and our avenues for healing.

Our Restorative Tools

Students sitting and speaking at a lecture

Restorative Circles

 

Sitting in circle is as old as human gathering. Restorative Circles include Community Building Circles, Reparative Circles, Re-Integration Circles, Collaborative Decision-Making Circles, as a way to equitably share thoughts and experiences, create common ground, develop a stronger sense of community, repair harm and re-integrate those who have caused harm back into the community. 

An aerial photo of the war memorial with the athletic fields and Mount Holyoke in the distance

Structured Listening & Mediation

Engaging directly with parties in conflict to bear witness to harm caused, holding each accountable for their part, and offering each support for their needs, participants sit with a skilled cross-cultural, multi-partial mediator.  Our focus remains on repairing the relationships while reinforcing that there is no lasting peace without speaking your truth and feeling heard, valued, and believed.

   

Photo of Prof. Hart in a circle

Workshops & Training

 

Offering interactive trainings to enhance knowledge such as Identity and Conflict Transformation; Restorative Justice vs. Punitive Justice; Active Listening for Conflict Resolution; Circle Facilitation; Peer Mediation; Peer-Led Harm and Impact Circles, Dialog for Difficult Conversations; Reducing Social Media Harm; Apology and Amend Making, we share what we have learned with others.