COVID Mask Community Member Conferences

Case Study: COVID Mask Community Member Conferences


At LMU, wearing a mask on campus is required at all times while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. In alignment with this policy, students are required to wear masks in all common areas of residence halls. When students are found not wearing masks, for example in hallways or lounges, Residence Life staff documents a report which is forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct & Community Responsibility. Students have been provided the option to engage in a hearing with a Conduct Officer or participate in a Restorative Justice Conference Process.


A Restorative Justice Conference process is convened by a staff facilitator with small groups of three to seven students participating. An LMU community member is also invited to attend. The majority of community members who participated in this capacity live in community with students in the residence halls. The process gives everyone involved a chance to have a face-to face conversation to talk about wearing masks on campus and to determine what needs to be done to support mask wearing in the future. The steps in the conference process are:

  1. Student Storytelling
  2. Discussion of Community Impacts and Concerns
  3. Agreement Creation

The facilitator engages students in multiple circle rounds, initially posing questions to build relationships with one another and the community member. The questions then shift to asking students about what happened in their particular situation, how they have been affected by the situations and who is affected when they do not wear their mask. Next, the community member shares how they are personally affected when community members do not wear masks and other effects the community should be aware of.

Students are invited to share their initial thoughts or what resonated with them from what the community member shared and engage in further discussion around community impact. In a final round, the facilitator asks students what they can personally do to make the situation better and supports students in generating ideas. In addition to the ideas students generate, the facilitator provides a list of additional ideas to demonstrate their personal commitment to community health and safety.


Students chose multiple avenues to repair the harm, including documenting their takeaways from the conference process and sharing with their peers, submitting an article about the conference process to the Loyolan (student newspaper), working with their resident advisor on an event to promote mask wearing, distributing giftcards and thanking students in their building who were wearing their mask correctly and engaging in community service. Students were also asked to complete a brief assessment immediately following the conference process.

90% of students somewhat or strongly agreed that they reflected on what happened. 93% of students somewhat or strongly agreed that they took responsibility for their actions.  91% of students somewhat or strongly agreed that they more fully understood the concerns of the community around mask wearing. 94% of students somewhat or strongly agreed that they plan to change the decisions they make in the future.

Students valued, “The open discussion and ability to share personal experiences and said, “I felt like I really reflected on the reasons why we wear masks for the protection of others.”