Mediation is an informal process in which an impartial third party assists opposing parties to reach a voluntary, negotiated resolution. The decision to mediate is completely voluntary for all involved, and according to the Oregon Administrative Rules, either the faculty member or the Chair of the Grievance Committee, with the faculty member's concurrence, may request mediation. Mediation gives each party the opportunity to discuss the issues raised in the complaint, clear up misunderstandings, determine the underlying interests or concerns, find areas of agreement and, ultimately, to incorporate those areas of agreements into resolutions. A mediator does not impose a decision on the parties. Instead, the mediator helps the parties to agree on a mutually acceptable resolution.
The Faculty Mediator and all parties to the mediation shall keep all information learned in the mediation process confidential to the maximum extent permitted under the law. One important exception to this rule is that the faculty mediator and alternate may share with each other information obtained from an ongoing mediation during professional consultation. The purpose of such consultation is that she or he may most effectively facilitate the mediation process.
With concurrence of all parties involved in the dispute or grievance, the Faculty Mediator may meet with either or both parties involved in the dispute to review and attempt to resolve disputes on an informal basis. The mediator will maintain a neutral and objective stance and will not attempt to coerce or pressure involved parties toward a resolution. The mediator will provide parties with a copy of the Faculty Mediation Standing Rules so as to ensure informed consent regarding the mediator's role and the purpose of mediation. The mediator cannot advocate for any particular party outside the scope of the mediation process.
The Faculty Mediator and an alternate shall be academic employees with faculty rank or professional title appointed by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee; emeritus faculty shall be eligible to be appointed. The mediator and the alternate shall have had specific training regarding mediation skills prior to accepting this appointment or arrange to receive specific training prior to providing mediation services.
The Faculty Mediator's role, activities, and responsibilities are defined in the "OSU Faculty Grievance Procedure," referenced in the Oregon Administrative Rules.
Note: OAR 576 Division 50 calls for both a mediation opportunity and a grievance process.