Loyola University Chicago

Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution

Division of Student Development

Circles

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Next Community Circle:

Jobs, Internships, Grad School - Oh My!
5:30-7:30pm | Tuesday, March 12
Information Commons, 4th Floor

Circles are a restorative justice practice that foster open dialogue, honesty, and attentive listening. Circles are a way to build and sustain communities based on authenticity, honesty, and empathy. They may also be used to provide healing and closure after a difficult group experience.

What does a circle look like?

  • Participants gather and sit in a circle.
  • A talking piece is used to make sure everyone has uninterrupted time to speak.
  • The facilitator then poses a question and each participant has the opportunity to respond to the question as the talking piece is passed around the circle. This is repeated until the relevant topics have been explored.

Some norms of a circle may include:

  • Be Present: We all face distractions in our daily lives. Circles present a time to focus intently on the dialogue that unfolds and truly listen to one another.
  • Once Voice, All Ears: The passed talking piece empowers the holder to share their perspective. It also invites other participants to exercise their privilege of listening.
  • Oops and Ouch: Participants are asked to trust that statements made in circle are made with the best of intentions. That said, occasionally the impact of our statements does not match our intent. If this happens, it is crucial to acknowledge this impact.
  • Speak Your Truth: Participants are asked to speak from their own lived experiences and use “I” statements whenever possible.
  • Respect Multiple Truths: Circle participants are encouraged to seek understanding rather than reach agreement. This involves respecting each individual’s truth even when it may conflict with our own.
  • Said here, Stays here; Learned here, Leaves here: Confidentiality during a circle is key to creating a space where participants can share freely and honestly. Exceptions to this rule will be stated explicitly during a particular circle.

Circles have been used both preventatively and reactively. Some student groups open and close the year by participating in a circle to build rapport and create connection as a cohesive group. Other groups have participated in circles after a conflict or difficult experience to provide a safe space for participants to share their thoughts and feelings and provide closure to the experience.

Circles are a challenge by choice activity. During the experience each participant has the opportunity to “pass” rather than respond to a question.

All of our conflict resolution services are completely optional. Each party always has the option not to participate.

Privacy is a crucial component of the OSCCR. All information shared through mediation or other conflict resolution services will be kept private, with two exceptions: 1) If there is mention of a serious violation of the Community Standards or law, a staff member would be required to act upon this information as appropriate and to ensure the safety of the community. 2) If a staff member becomes aware that someone may be in danger of serious, imminent harm, they would be required to address the situation as appropriate to ensure the safety of the community.

Fill out this request for assistance and someone will reach out to you. You can also call 773-508-8890 or stop by the OSCCR on the third floor of Damen.

Previous Community Circles:

Addressing Mental Health on Campus
3:30-5:00pm | Tuesday, January 22
Co-Sponsored by Student Government of Loyola Chicago, and featuring the Wellness Center

Processing the Verdict of the CPD Cover-Up Case
3:00-4:30pm | Friday, January 18

Discussing the Results of the 2018 Midterm Elections
3:30-5:00pm | Friday, November 9
Co-Sponsored by Student Government of Loyola Chicago

The Shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh
3:30-5:00pm | Thursday, November 1

The Confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh
4:30-6:00pm | Tuesday, October 16
Co-Sponsored by The Wellness Center

The Jason Van Dyke Trial
2:00-4:00pm | Friday, October 12
Co-Sponsored by The Office of the Dean of Students, The Wellness Center, and Student Diversity & Multicultural Affairs