Peace Be With You … And With You?

Exclamation_markUnder the heading of hard bargaining tactics gone bad (and bad lawyer advice), we can now add this story.  When a group of eight faculty members at the General Theological Seminary in Manhattan decided to stop working in order to protest their newly hired dean and president, Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle, all purgatory broke loose. Under advice of their counsel, the faculty wrote a rather strongly worded letter outlining their demands regarding the dean.  (See the nasty details of the dean’s behavior here.)

Unimpressed with the tone of the letter, the Board of Trustees for the Seminary considered the letter, instead of the opening bid that the faculty intended, as a mass resignation.  They dismissed the eight faculty members (leaving the students at the Seminary with only two instructors.) In this case, the eight faculty members’ hard bargaining tactic to have their foul-mouthed, micromanaging (in their descriptions) dean dismissed ended up focusing attention on their perceived “bad” behavior rather than that of their dean.

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eMediation–Marquette Students Rock

MediationIn a new competition hosted by Cornell University this past fall, students tested out their skills at dispute resolution over the internet. We finally received the results in December so my apologies for the delay in singing our praises.

Students could choose to play the role of the plaintiff, defendant or mediator in a mediation that was completely conducted via email. Judges then graded their performance using the transcript of the mediation. I encouraged students to participate as part of the ADR class and was delighted with the results. While we all learned more than we wanted to about technical glitches, I hope the experience was educational as well. And, impressively, Marquette students dominated the competition.

As mediators, we placed 1st (Jill Aufmuth) 4th (Jillian Dickson-Igl) and tied for 5th (TJ Wendel). As defendants, we placed 1st (Tea Norfolk), 3rd (Alexander Golubiewski), 4th (Heather Hough) and 5th (Marcus Hirsch). And, as plaintiffs, we tied for 1st (Ryan Session and Dillon Raunio), placed 2nd (Casey Shorts and Frederick Hostetler), 3rd (Kelsey Burazin and Kyle Silver), 4th (Paul Gunderson and Ryan Ybarra), and 5th (Adam Gilmore and Antwayne Robinson). Another way to measure how well we did is that out of the 17 teams that placed, 12 of those teams were from Marquette. A very impressive record!

My congratulations to all the students that placed and appreciation to all those ADR students who participated. Well done.


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Restorative Justice Conference: “Grief Is Inevitable; Misery Is Optional”

There is no way the legal system – or anyone else — can undo the terrible wounds left on people who have had a loved one murdered. But can the system or those involved in different aspects of it help survivors of a murder victim go forward in leading their lives?

That was the underlying question at the remarkable and emotionally intense 2013 Restorative Justice Conference held last week at Marquette Law School’s Eckstein Hall. “The Death Penalty Versus Life Without Parole: Comparing the Healing Impact on Victims’ Families and the Community” brought together about 200 people from Wisconsin and much of the country to examine the post-murder lives of family members.

But among the many speakers, six stood out – because, as survivors of victims, they personally had gone through the grieving and dealt with the legal system and so many other problems. Three from Texas, two from Minnesota, and one from the Milwaukee area told their searing stories in a pair of panel discussions on Friday morning, the second day of the conference.

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