Restorative University

Inspired by efforts undertaken in restorative schools, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington has taken steps to become a 'restorative university'.

Inspired by efforts undertaken in restorative schools, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington has taken steps to become a 'restorative university'. Restorative universities prioritise community based on respectful relationships, in which each student, faculty, and staff member is valued and feels they belong, where all contribute to the common good, and where conflict is handled in ways that promote accountability and repair. This has involved changes to the student misconduct policy as well as proactive community-building works with the halls of residence, student wellbeing initiatives, and some staff groups. The University has seen positive results from its implementation so far, with positive feedback from both staff and students regarding the changes.

Te Herenga Waka has also seen positive results following the implementation of restorative justice to handle incidents of student misconduct. The University began accepting referrals of student misconduct cases from Residential Life in February 2016 and since then, the support and enthusiasm for the process have grown. Through the use of restorative justice, the University has been able to avoid suspensions, expulsions, and the eviction of students from university housing and has instead offered a process that more fully integrates students into the community.

Building a Restorative University, a professional paper by Lindsey Pointer for the Journal of the Australian and New Zealand student Services Association.

Restorative practices in residence halls at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand by Lindsey Pointer, published in Conflict Resolution Quarterly.

Sustained Restorative Dialogue as a Means of Understanding and Combatting Sexually Harmful Behavior, a pilot report by Lindsey Pointer

The 'Sustained Restorative Dialogue' method was piloted in July 2018 as a proactive restorative process to hold difficult conversation about important community issues. The inaugural dialogue explored the issue of sexual harm and harassment on campus. It was a 'sustained' dialogue in that it was run over four sessions with the same participants. It was a 'restorative' dialogue in that the conversation moved in sequential sessions through the main steps of a restorative analysis—What is happening? What are the impacts? What is needed to make things right? The aim of the dialogue was to explore the broader climate that gives rise to sexual harm in the campus setting and beyond and to explore possible solutions.

This report includes background information, the circle outlines for each session, feedback from participants, recruitment processes, and lessons learned.

Sustained Dialogue Report (PDF)


Presentations from the Restorative University round table, a day-long workshop that explored the aspiration of becoming a 'restorative university' and how supporters can collaborate to promote restorative initiatives across the tertiary sector, held in July 2018:

Skidmore College Project on Restorative Justice (PDF, 1.94MB)
Why a Restorative University? (PDF, 1.35 MB)
Building a Restorative University: Workplace relations and HR (PDF, 22.5 MB)
Student Misconduct: Policies and Practices (PDF, 437 KB)