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Resident Assistant

Conflict Resolution

Created by: Paige Guardiola, Jordan

Thompson and Ying Yan
Morning Training Schedule
8:30 AM: Welcome breakfast available
9:00 AM: Learning Objectives/Icebreaker
9:20 AM: Conflict Introduction
9:40 AM: Conflict Mediation/
De-Escalation Presentation
10:10 AM: Break
10:25 AM: Video
10:45 AM: Brief Assessment
11:00 AM: Lunch

Afternoon Training Schedule
12:30 PM: Check-In
12:45 PM: Conflict in Res. Life
1:15 PM: Behind Closed Doors
3:15 PM: Break
3:30 PM: Behind Closed Doors
3:55 PM: Writing Unbiased Reports
4:25 PM: Teambuilding
4:45 PM: Assessment & Wrap Up
5:00 PM: Dinner

Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
● Recognize the appropriate verbal and nonverbal language to
resolve a conflict in the residence halls.
● Demonstrate how to handle conflict on-call by participating
in a series of “Behind Closed Doors” roleplay.
● Determine the difference between a biased and unbiased
incident report following this training.
Ice Breaker: Move your Feet
● Stand in a circle with one person in the
● The person in the middle will ask their
peers to “move your feet” after they list
a fact, hobby, interest, etc. about
● If the fact applies to you, switch places
with another person who identifies
with that fact, hobby, interest, etc. in
the circle
● The person left standing without a
place in the circle starts the next round
● Examples: “Move your feet if you’re
from New England,”....if you have a
sibling,” “....if your favorite color is red,”
Conflict Discussion Activity
● Think back to the first conflict you can remember
being in either when someone confronted you, or
you confronted them.
○ What can you recall from the situation? What did you feel in that
○ Was the experience positive, negative, or neutral? Why?
● Keep this in mind as we continue to think about
conflict and how to mediate or de-escalate it in an
appropriate manner.
Mediation and
Conflict Mediation/De-Escalation

● Some topics we will cover include:

○ Human interaction
○ Conflict Escalator
○ Effective Language
○ Types of Language
○ Short discussion
○ Confronting Behaviors
○ Empathy
Adapted from presentations by Alicia Lewis and Lee Brossoit
The Truths of Human Interaction
As told by George J. Thompson, PhD, in his book “Verbal Judo: The
Gentle Art of Persuasion”:

● People feel the need to be respected.

● People would rather be asked than be told.
● People have a desire to know the ‘why’.
● People prefer to have options over demands and threats.
● People want to be given a second chance.
Conflict Escalator
● If not dealt with, conflict can escalate to dangerous levels. There is a
typical pattern to this escalation:
○ Situation
○ Embarrassed
○ Angry
○ Raised Voice
○ Screaming
○ Threatened
○ Physical
○ Big Trouble
● So how can we avoid this escalation before things reach dangerous
levels? Utilizing effective conflict resolution skills!
Effective Language
● I, We, & You
○ “I” statements are particularly useful when communicating
something that could be perceived negatively (i.e. I felt hurt
○ When attempting to gain assistance from someone, or when
you need to work together utilizing “we” or “us” statements is
most effective (i.e. It would be great if we could meet to
○ Lastly, when communicating something positive utilize “you”
statements (i.e. You’re really great at…).
Effective Language
● Work to omit negative, judgmental language and
tone from your communications with others.
○ i.e. “you’re incredibly loud, very disruptive, totally wasted, being
stupid, etc”.
○ Try reframing things more positively: “I can see you’re upset
about this, but if you just agree to provide your ID and dispose of
any alcohol in the room we won’t have to call the pro-staff
member on duty.”
Natural vs. Tactful Language
Conflict Escalator
Conflict Escalator

● What are you doing? vs. I noticed that you removed a

decoration from the bulletin board.
● Why did you do that? vs. Help me understand the situation.
● You can’t do that. vs. We ask people to not burn candles in
their room as it’s a fire hazard.
● I can’t believe you did that. vs. I was surprised when I saw
that . . .
● Calm down. vs. I can see that you are upset.
● Be rational. vs. Help me understand.
● I understand. vs. I want to help you.
Does anyone have any examples of natural vs
tactful language they have used?

Image: http://www.meritbrass.com/mbleadfree/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/question.jpg
Confront Behaviors, Not People
● What they are doing may be inappropriate or
violating policies, but it is important to remember
that this does not make them “bad” people. It does,
however, provide an opportunity to correct
behavior and teach a lesson.
● Example:
○ Instead of saying “____, you’re keeping people awake by playing loud
○ Try saying, “____, it is against community policy to play loud music after
11:00pm because _____.”
The Importance of Empathy
1. Empathy does not mean that you agree with or condone
what the person has done or said, it means that you are
able to view the situation from their perspective.
● “I can see that you are upset…”
2. When you show empathy it can aid in gaining the other
person’s respect, cooperation, and help to absorb tension.
The Three Principles for Handling
As told by George J. Thompson in Verbal Judo:
1. Allow the person to say what they want as long as they do
what you tell them.
● Focus on their behavior not their words.
● Though easier said than done, keep in mind that upset people
often do not mean what they say so don’t take it to heart.
2. Always go for a win/win
● They can have the last word, if you get the last action (their
compliance). You both “win”.
3. It is important to treat people with respect, even if you don’t
approve of their actions, even if they are not respecting you.
Questions or Clarifications?

Image: http://www.thebriancook.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/question1.jpg

Image from: https://salemnet.vo.llnwd.net/media/cms/CROSSCARDS/15344-take-a-break-cat.jpg

Thinking Questions
● What is the focal point of the conflict?
● When you were a college student, did you
encounter this kind of conflict? What did you think
at that time?
● How do you feel about what the RA did? Please
give your comment.
● Now, as a RA, when you meet this, what will you do
to handle the conflict?
Brief Assessment

● On one side of the notecard:

○ Please name two new concepts or skills that you took away from
this morning session.
● On the other side:
○ Please write one concept or question you are still wondering
about and need clarification on.
● We will revisit these questions and comments after

Image: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DGGJ0g1UwAA3Lbm.jpg

Image: http://haydonlearningblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/crop635w_college-choice-questions2.jpg
to Conflicts
Step One: Assess

● Why are you confronting the situation?

○ What did you observe or receive a call about?
What policy or community standard is
potentially being violated?
● What is the ideal outcome?
Step Two: Approach

● Always knock and explain why you need to enter.

● Make sure to introduce yourself and that they
know you are a Resident Assistant.
Step Three: Explain

● State why you are there and be specific:

○ “I am here because when I was passing by the
room I heard bottles clinking and someone
saying ‘Drink! Drink!” as opposed to simply “Are
you drinking in here?”
● This satisfies the human truth of a desire to know
the ‘why’ that we spoke about earlier today.
Step Four: Ask

● Ask for what you need (compliance) and again, be

○ “Before I can leave, I’ll need everyone’s IDs…”
● If the situation necessitates, call in additional
resources (Prostaff, Campus Police, etc).
Step Five: Close

● Before you leave, let the residents know what the

next steps will be (incident report, conduct
meeting, etc).
Behind Closed Doors Explained
● Split into two groups:
○ One group will be Resident Assistants responding to
○ Second group will be individuals acting as residents that
RAs are responding to
● Utilize the skills learned thus far about conflict
mediation and de-escalation
● Professional staff will let you know what you did
well and what you can improve on
Behind Closed Doors

● Four behind closed doors scenarios dealing with:

○ Roommate conflict
○ Marijuana in the residence hall
○ Alcohol in the residence hall
○ Bias related conflict
● In the interest of time, we will run through one of
these exercises with you today!

Image from: https://az616578.vo.msecnd.net/files/2016/05/18/635992012554577559-567276485_takeabreak.jpg

Behind Closed Doors Debrief

Debrief Questions:

● In what ways did the BCD activity challenge you?

● Were you surprised by anything during this
● What was something you learned about handling
conflict from this activity?
● Are there any lingering questions about handling
conflict on call?
Introduction to
an Unbiased
Incident Report
What is an incident report?

● A document that is written to inform

individuals of events that impact a
student or community on-campus

● Define “unbiased”
○ “Free from all prejudice and

● Do’s and Don’ts of writing an

unbiased incident report
Definition from: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unbiased
Incident Report definition adapted from:
Image: https://www.kidcheck.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Incident-Report.png
Unbiased Incident Reporting
● Take notes to be able to easily recall information
● Write in third person
● Report information in chronological order and include timing
of events
● Check grammar and sentence structure
● Include as much detail as possible
● Include first, last names and titles of individuals involved
○ I.e. students, University Police, Resident Assistants, etc.
Adapted from: http://www.evergreen.edu/sites/default/files/housing/office/RA%20IR%20Writing%20Guide.pdf
Unbiased Incident Reporting Example

Why is this an exemplary example of an unbiased incident report?

Resource: http://ras.saintleoresidencelife.com/incident-reports.html
Unbiased Incident Reporting
● Include personal emotional reactions to
● Neglect meeting with supervisors following
● Write one lengthy report of all the incidents
that occurred during your scheduled duty
● Forget to include all individuals that are
Adapted from: Image:
https://apps.carleton.edu/student/housing/assets/duty_confrontation_crisis_management.pdf https://www.uaex.edu/business-communiti
Unbiased Incident Reporting Example

Why is this a poor example of an unbiased incident report?

Resource: http://ras.saintleoresidencelife.com/incident-reports.html
Important to Keep in Mind

● An incident report is a legal

● Submit incident report document
within 24 hours of event
● Follow up on incidents, as needed

Adapted from: http://www.evergreen.edu/sites/default/files/housing/office/RA%20IR%20Writing%20Guide.pdf

● Lay two ropes on the ground parallel to each other, about 20 feet
● Have the students line up on one side of the rope, and they are
looking at the 20 feet gap between the ropes.
● The only way to get across is by using communication and conflict
resolution skills.
● Students will be given several pieces of paper, representing stepping
stones, to help get through the gap.
● One student must be touching each “stone” while passing through
the gap or they will “sink.”
● Students must work together to get across the gap using the paper
while communicating with one another.
Adapted from: http://www.ultimatecampresource.com/site/camp-activity/hot-chocolate-river.html
Let’s do it.
and Wrap Up
Assessment & Wrap Up
Take out another note card:
1.) Referring back to your first conflict that we discussed this
morning, how would you handle the situation now after
today’s training?
a.) What skills would you use or refer to?
2.) Do you feel prepared to handle conflict in the residence halls
after BCD? Why or why not?
3.) What was your biggest takeaway from today’s training?
4.) Do you have any lingering questions about any topic we have
covered today?

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