Case Study: Motorcycle Parking Issues
*Names have been changed to protect the identities of the participants
Mr. Bryant, an employee living on campus, noticed a couple of students, Brett and Doug, working on a motorcycle in the parking garage. Not only did they leave messy oil stains, they tested the motor for hours at a time causing the garage to reek of headache-inducing fumes. Mr. Bryant told Doug it was against the rules to conduct any mechanical work on vehicles on campus. Later on, when Mr. Bryant noticed the young men were still working on the bike despite his warning, he reported the matter to the Parking and Transportation department. Taking the complaint very seriously, Parking and Transportation forwarded the matter to Public Safety and demanded the removal of the motorcycle within 24-hours. Simultaneously, the incident was reported to Office of Student Conduct and Community Responsibility (OSCCR) and it was determined the case was eligible for a Restorative Justice Conference.
A Restorative Justice Conference is convened by an impartial facilitator where everyone involved in the incident is given the opportunity to be heard. The purpose of the conference is to hear: 1) what happened 2) who has been affected and 3) what can be done to repair the harm. The process gives everyone involved a chance to have a face-to-face conversation to determine what needs to be done to help resolve the matter and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Mr. Bryant, Brett, Doug, a representative from Parking and Transportation, and a representative from Public Safety agreed to participate in the restorative conference. As the story unfolded, the parties learned a number of things including:
- Brett and Doug were unaware of the campus policy and didn’t believe Mr. Bryant when he scolded them because other campus employees actually helped them with the repairs on their bikes in the past.
- Mr. Bryant lives on campus and wants everyone to have a nice, safe, clean environment on campus. Nonetheless, he never meant for the incident to escalate to Public Safety.
- Parking and Transportation realized they had inadvertently forwarded the matter to Public Safety, thinking Mr. Bryant was seeking a serious response.
- Doug acknowledged that he understood Mr. Bryant’s point of view considering spaces on campus as part of his home.
- Brett & Doug complied with removing the bike within 24-hours by selling it and they already cleaned up the oil stains so there would be no further issues.
- Mr. Bryant suggested the idea of a designated area to work on vehicles on campus to avoid health hazards in the garage. Parking and Transportation agreed to contact Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) during an advisory meeting to propose the idea.
Following the conference, Public Safety mentioned an appreciation for the ability to have a conversation with the key players in order to gain a better understanding of the situation. The students involved expressed the process was well structured and took all opinions into account.