Discussing Conflict as a House
Any housemate, at any time, can add the conflict to the agenda for a house meeting. Do your best to ensure that all members involved in the conflict are aware that the discussion is happening. Residents are encouraged to resolve all conflicts at the house-level as much as possible.
Follow the typical guidelines for your house meetings, perhaps adding a few others (such as an additional person on “vibes”, a support person advocating for the responding member, or an agreement around confidentiality and “I statements”) given the tense nature of the discussion.
Make sure that one housemate, ideally someone less involved in the conflict, will be taking clear thorough notes that are shared with the entire house and the committee on cooperation.
Outside mediators, either professionals or trained residents from other houses, can be requested to support the house-wide discussion.
The house should work towards a written agreement that everyone agrees to by consensus – both those directly involved and the rest of the house. The written agreement should follow the “SMART” guidelines (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, time-bound).
The written agreement should be emailed to the house and to the committee on cooperation.
While this is happening, review the strategies outlined in conflict types one-three for more support.
If the house cannot come to an agreement, or the agreement is broken, email the Committee on Cooperation (CoC) to report the situation.
Helpful questions you might answer in your report are:
- From your perspective, what happened?
- What are you feeling, what’s been the impact?
- What do you need?
- What specific action steps could be taken to move forward? – by you, the other person, the house, staff, the CoC
- What is most important to you? What do you ultimately want?
Clearly dated, objective documentation is helpful. This might include house meeting minutes discussing the issue, labor reports, or email exchanges.
Staff and the committee on cooperation (CoC) will work together to determine next steps.
A member review is considered if we receive three or more reports of uncooperative behavior from different people, or if any of the reports are particularly egregious.
A member review is a restorative, not a punitive process. The intention of the member review is to repair the connection between the responding member and the house. Although a member review CAN lead to lease termination, that is a last resort, and NOT the goal.
Steps of a member review:
- The house chooses one member to represent their concerns.
- A mediator reaches out to the house representative and the responding member for a one-on-one pre-mediation conversation.
- The house representative and responding member have a mediated conversation supported by two mediators. They may also have a silent support person present if that’s helpful.
- Out of this mediation, a list of agreements are decided upon and signed. These agreements are then brought to the house at a meeting.
- With the same two mediators facilitating, the house reviews the agreements, makes any changes, and then approves of them by consensus.
- One month later, the mediators reach out to check in with the house representative and responding member. If concerns persist, they will return for a full house check-in at another house meeting.
- If any agreements are broken or the house the cannot come to consensus about the agreement, the decision goes back to the CoC and they may vote on a lease termination.resolve