Mediation at UNT
What is mediation at UNT?
Mediation at UNT is a voluntary process that can help individuals find mutually agreed upon solutions to job-related interpersonal disputes between faculty, administrators, and/or staff. Student employees facing interpersonal disputes on the job should seek assistance from the Dean of Students Office.
If you would like to engage a pair of mediators in alternative dispute resolution, please complete the mediation request form and a mediation specialist will contact with you.
Please note that certain topics are not eligible for mediation and you may be directed to other offices such as HR, Faculty Success, Equal Opportunity, or Institutional Compliance.
Who is eligible to participate in the mediation program?
The Alternative Dispute Resolution program – mediation, is available to all faculty and staff at the University of North Texas. You can request mediation by filling out a request form.
When is mediation most appropriate?
Mediation can be used at any time when the working relationship between two or more individuals has broken down. Mediation is appropriate when the individuals:
- have voluntarily chosen to participate in the mediation and do not feel coerced
- are committed to finding workable solutions to their problems
- need help from an external third party to facilitate discussion
- have to work together and experience frequent conflict
When is mediation not appropriate?
Mediation may not be appropriate when:
- one party does not have genuine interest in resolving the issue at hand
- a manager/supervisor wants to use mediation to avoid managerial responsibilities
- a decision about right or wrong is needed, for example with a disciplinary issue
- the parties do not have the authority to settle the issue
Does mediation work?
Mediation has a high success rate but there can be no guaranteed outcome. The mediators are there to help, but it is up to the parties involved to reach their own agreement and follow through.
What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?
Mediation is quite different from arbitration.
Mediators assist the parties in reaching a solution that is acceptable to each of them without imposing a decision. Mediators will not make judgments or determine outcomes—they simply ask questions that help uncover underlying problems, assist the parties to understand the issues and help them to clarify the options for resolving their conflict.
In contrast, arbitration involves an impartial outsider making a firm decision on a dispute, based on the evidence presented by the parties. In arbitration, both parties must agree in advance that they will abide by the arbitrator's decision.
How will records be used from mediation?
Any notes or records made by the mediators during the process will be destroyed after the mediation process is concluded. The mediators will not divulge any information that is shared unless given permission to do so by the parties involved. The exceptions to this are when mediators reasonably consider that the safety of any person is or may be at risk, or when there is potential/alleged illegal or criminal activity reported. Should any of these exceptions come to light, the mediation process will be stopped and mediators will alert the appropriate office.
Am I required to take part in mediation?
Mediation is entirely voluntary and needs the agreement of both parties. This allows you and the other party to drive the process yourselves and come to your own agreement rather than having an outcome imposed upon you. It is hoped that this will make you both feel more committed to what you agree. If you agree to take part you are also free to withdraw at any time.
Is my supervisor/department required to provide me time to participate in mediation?
Mediation is a problem-solving avenue supported by the university; therefore, departments are encouraged to support efforts made by employees to informally and effectively solve workplace issues to improve individual, department and overall institutional effectiveness.
How long do mediations typically last?
Initially, Human Resources will schedule three hours for mediation, either from 9 a.m. to noon, 1 to 4 p.m. or 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Most mediations will be completed in this time setting, and if more time is needed, the mediators will work to set up additional mediation sessions as close to the original time frame as possible.
What other services does UNT provide for faculty and staff facing problems?
UNT has several services and programs that can help faculty and staff, including:
- the Office of Equal Opportunity in the Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity which is responsible for enforcing the university’s equal opportunity policies and for investigating complaints of discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
- the CARE Team, which responds to disruptive or potentially threatening behavior and provides resources to those involved. There is a similar service available to students.
- the Employee Assistance Program that is available to help employees with family, legal or financial issues, substance abuse or other stressful events.
- Title IX Coordinator Eve Bell who ensures the university’s compliance with Title IX, including the university’s grievance procedures for resolving Title IX complaints for students, faculty and staff.
- the Multicultural Center which cultivates a campus environment where people of all identities and experiences can thrive.
- the Pride Alliance which is a gender and sexuality resource center and a safe and welcoming space for all.