JAMS Solutions for Higher Education
Title IX Hearing Officers & Mediators | Staff & Faculty Dispute Resolution & Prevention | ADR Training & System Design
Colleges and universities need to manage, resolve and prevent conflict. As a worldwide leader in dispute resolution, JAMS is singularly qualified to provide a comprehensive range of unique and effective solutions for problems facing students, faculty and administration.
As an external, neutral entity, JAMS brings objectivity to disputes affecting the organizations and parties we serve. Our neutrality reinforces principles of fairness within otherwise closed systems that often create the perception of conflicts of interest.
JAMS has been at the forefront of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) since 1979. We are experts in developing, administering, and working within ADR programs of all sizes and types, including many that are managed in accordance with special rules, procedures, and protocols. Our panel consists of retired federal and state court judges and attorneys with proven track records.
Our reputation for fairness and independence builds confidence within the institutions with which we work.
Incorporating JAMS Solutions results in savings that outweigh direct costs.
- Addressing disputes early and properly helps to contain litigation expense (including hard costs such as quantifiable legal expenditures and soft costs such as loss of productivity), as well as diversion of resources associated with state and federal investigations and actions.
- Instances of lost donations from alumni and other sources due to concern over mishandled Title IX matters, for example, have been well documented. Resolving disputes with the assistance of JAMS helps to preserve these beneficial relationships.
- Because we are an external entity, schools incur no ongoing staffing costs for the functions that JAMS provides. Costs are incurred only when services are rendered.
JAMS Solutions can be adopted in whole or in part, independent from or in conjunction with pre-established institutional policies and procedures. Schools are assigned a dedicated administrative contact to ensure that requests are accommodated efficiently.
Title IX Dispute Resolution
Providing Formal and Informal Resolution to Title IX Programs
Instances of sexual assault and harassment continue to occur and draw attention to campuses across the United States. The number of these matters is increasing, and can pose grave consequences to the parties involved.
It is also true that Title IX raises serious concerns for school leadership. Many colleges and universities have been subject to unwelcome headlines and the associated consequences—including lawsuits and investigations by the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education—stemming from their handling of sexual assault and harassment on campus. A considered approach incorporating JAMS addresses the concerns and interests of both the parties and the institutions.
JAMS can assist Title IX programs that provide for formal resolution, informal resolution or both.
Incorporating JAMS in a school’s Title IX policies and procedures makes sense for several important reasons:
- It assures stakeholders that outcomes will be reached fairly. This can also insulate the rendered decisions and sanctions—and the institutions and their programs—from scrutiny by participants and third parties alike.
- Victims of assault and harassment are more likely to come forward when they perceive the processes as fair and impartial.
- Hearings run more smoothly and predictably, as JAMS adjudicators—either former judges or attorneys—are:
- experienced at conducting formal proceedings, including those where legal counsel are involved;
- skilled at applying applicable law, facts and appropriate standards of evidence and proof in reasoned decisions; and
- trained in Title IX issues through a comprehensive, mandatory and ongoing training curriculum administered by the JAMS Institute.
- Hearing panels consisting of internal resources are instead able to focus on their primary educational purposes (e.g., scholarship, research, study and administration).
Adjudication typically consists of a disciplinary hearing following an investigation to determine whether prohibited conduct occurred and advance any applicable sanctions. The use of JAMS hearing officers and adjudicators ensures objective procedural fairness and provides assurances to stakeholders and third parties that decisions are reached independently and fairly.
Several crucial but perhaps overlooked benefits that a professional adjudicator can add to Title IX programs are the following:
- Due process: Assurances are made to the parties that they have been heard.
- Respect: The parties are treated with dignity by an adjudicator with experience in containing contentious proceedings, resulting in a process that is thoughtfully administered.
- Legitimacy: Professional adjudicators have years of experience handling emotionally charged and complicated disputes.
Many schools’ rules and procedures allow for appellate review of Title IX determinations. Neutral JAMS professionals are adept at reviewing the record of what transpired and then issuing their decisions.
Facilitation and Mediation
Under current guidance from the Department of Education, schools have the option of resolving Title IX matters through facilitation and mediation. Traditionally, this has been available to address potential policy violations that were not considered violent in nature, though the current guidelines allow schools to propose facilitation and mediation for all potential violations. The underlying feature of this process is a managed session with both parties (per school policy) to understand if a policy violation occurred and determine whether sanctions should be issued.
JAMS resolves thousands of cases per year through mediation—many of them intense, exceedingly emotional and often traumatic. Professional mediators know how to conduct these cases in order to avoid further harm and disruption to the parties.
Faculty and Administration Dispute Resolution
Prevent, Address and Resolve Disputes Among Faculty and Administration
Higher education is affected by similar issues that affect non-academic institutions, including those that could broadly be described as human resources related. Nevertheless, the context of these issues is indeed unique within colleges and universities.
Members of JAMS senior leadership and many of our neutral experts have insight into the challenges facing higher education as a result of their experience as professors, adjunct professors and trustees, as well as having worked as adjudicators and investigators. This group of JAMS professionals offers the services listed below to colleges and universities.
Dispute Resolution System Design
Through a consultative process, JAMS works with school administration (either directly or in combination with other consulting entities) to devise frameworks to address, resolve and prevent disputes among faculty and between faculty and administration, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Tenure and promotion;
- Personnel and human resources issues, including harassment and other prohibited actions; and
- Stakeholder engagement, deal making and dispute resolution.
Professional JAMS facilitators are used ad hoc to resolve disputes informally before they escalate into lengthy and costly proceedings. JAMS neutrals are accomplished professionals who have dedicated their careers to resolving disputes. Confidence in school processes is reinforced because JAMS facilitators are neutral and unaffiliated with the school.
Many colleges and universities are unable to employ full-time ombuds, which are used by many large organizations to address employment issues through productive, informal methods. A dedicated, on-call JAMS facilitator (or team) establishes a working knowledge of the school, faculty and administration, and can be called upon to resolve disputes as they arise and before they escalate. Familiarity with the institution builds the neutral’s credibility among disputants, which fosters trust, which in turn can lead to early resolution.
Independent Investigation and Neutral Fact Finding
JAMS has an earned reputation for neutrality, fairness and transparency, and is thus retained by school leadership to conduct investigations into alleged discriminatory practices, systemic harassment and other issues. Following an investigation into a purported incident and the school’s policies, procedures and mechanisms for responding to the same, a report is issued that includes findings and suggestions to correct the problems. JAMS can conduct such investigations autonomously or by leading a team of other organizations, which adds objectivity and legitimacy to the process.
A comprehensive array of training is available from JAMS to meet the training needs and obligations of higher education. Our primary areas of expertise are in the realms of negotiation, mediation, arbitration, systems design and decision making, with subspecialties in psychology, economics and law. Specific offerings include the following:
- Effective Collaborative Negotiation: Preventing and Resolving Problems;
- Increasing the Utility of Group Processes: From Running Meetings to Community Engagement and Beyond;
- Understanding and Employing Principles of Systems Design in a University Setting;
- Basics of Title IX (for students, faculty and other employees);
- The Human Side of Applied Decision Theory: How Psychology, Economics, Law and Related Disciplines Impact Decision Making; and
- Standing Your Ground and Finding Common Ground: Balancing Advocacy and Accommodation
In addition to these and other programs, JAMS also works closely with our clients to create customized trainings that precisely match their needs.
Local Solutions. Global Reach. TM
JAMS successfully resolves business and legal disputes by providing efficient, cost-effective and impartial ways of overcoming barriers at any stage of conflict. JAMS offers customized, in-person, virtual and hybrid dispute resolution services through a combination of first class client service, the latest technology, top-notch facilities, and highly trained mediators and arbitrators.
Higher Education Resources
- JAMS Solutions
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