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Free Speech on Campus: What Colleges and Universities Can Do

By Kenneth Cloke,

As I write, it is now the year of the 60th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement (FSM) at U.C. Berkeley, in which I was an active participant (I am at the far right in the photo.)  It is also a time when free speech issues are again triggering campus conflicts, largely because of intense polarization over fighting in Gaza, and the mutually antagonistic activities of student supporters of Israel or Palestine.

Starting in the 1980’s, I began working as a mediator, conflict resolver, and dialogue facilitator, helping thousands of people and hundreds of organizations with vastly differing opinions, many mired in hatred and enmity, discover that they could somehow, unexpectedly, talk to each other, engage in open, honest, constructive dialogue, improve their understanding, and solve common problems.

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50 Possible Questions to Open Israeli-Palestinian Dialogues

By Kenneth Cloke,

Many political conflicts are taking place on campuses and in communities today over the war in Gaza between Israeli and Palestinian supporters.  Here are a few possible opening questions mediators and dialogue facilitators can use to encourage colleges and universities, groups, communities, and people on both sides or in-between to engage in facilitated dialogue and mediated problem solving.  They are suggestive, are likely to work best in small groups, and are only the beginning of a longer term process of discovering how to talk and learn from each other.  For additional questions and techniques, see my chapter on “the art of asking questions” in The Magic in Mediation.  There are thousands of potentially useful questions - please add a few of your own. 

Questions about the Process

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Celebrating Juneteenth

By the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Committee

Juneteenth (June 19) is approaching soon. It is a United States federal holiday which commemorates the end of slavery, the day when the last enslaved African Americans in Texas were told they were free. It’s a time to reflect on both our history and recent events and how we continue to work to eradicate anti- Black racism in all its forms together. This is an important day of celebration for African Americans and all Americans alike. We recognize that each country - each culture - holds celebrations to commemorate freedom, progress, and inclusion. May we use this space to share important portions of our global histories with one another.

Here are a few resources assembled by the IOA DEIB Committee to help honor and celebrate Juneteenth and increase awareness and understanding of racial equity and inclusion:

COFO Annual Conference 2021: Call for Presentations

By Paul Sotoudeh, Chief Ombudsman, USPTO Office of the Ombudsman

The Coalition of Federal Ombudsman (COFO) is pleased to announce its 2021 Annual Conference, being held virtually on October 15, 2021, and COFO’s Conference Committee is now accepting proposals to present at the conference.

The Annual Conference is focused on the needs of ombuds practitioners serving in the federal government, but the day is always an ombuds-wide family affair and we welcome anyone either practicing as an ombuds or interested in ombuds to join us as an attendee or presenter. Registration is free, and the conference typically draws around 200 attendees from across the ombuds profession and broader ADR community.

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Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools Article Share

IOA Member Feature

by Chuck Howard, IOA Executive Director

IOA members Armando Peri and Dawn Clement, ombuds with the Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools, recently shared an article on the valuable role they serve in connection with the special education process, which is subject to federal legal requirements.

These K-12 ombuds engage in extensive outreach efforts to help parents and others learn more about the special education process and are often asked to explain in understandable language the various legal requirements and procedures. They also serve as an informal resource for parents to share their concerns and to help them develop options for special education strategies. 

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IOA Member Featured on a Conflict Resolution Podcast

Anlaşabiliriz/We Can Find a Way Podcast

 

IOA member, Tom Kosakowski, University Ombuds at the University of Southern California and creator of The Ombuds Blog, was featured on the bilingual podcast, Anlaşabiliriz/We Can Find a Way last month. The podcast is hosted by Idil Elveris and this episode, "Ombuds helped universities to become compassionate," speaks to the benefits ombuds make on higher education campuses. Take a listen.


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Surfacing Gems from the Archives of the Independent Voice

By the Editor of the Independent Voice

The Independent Voice provides a channel to communicate happenings within the IOA, as well as insights on timely topics and practice reflections from members. This year, the Independent Voice expanded access to the blog so the public can benefit from this channel as well. As the current editor of this blog, I’ve gone through the archived posts to make sure links are still live and to assess the various topics discussed throughout the years. A result of this effort allowed me to experience the great wisdom shared throughout the years related to topics of discussion in our field, pathways for professional development, and practical skills shared to build our capacity for success in our role. This post is meant to highlight some of the archived posts as a means to share the wisdom conveyed with those that may be newly accessing this blog.

A Meatball by Any Other Name (originally posted 12-14-2018)

This post touches on an issue that I’ve seen surface as of late in social media chatter. It is an introduction to a greater JIOA article on the need for reflection on the title we assign for our work in this profession. After you read through this short article, I invite you to share your thoughts and reflections on where we can bring this conversation. [READ MORE]

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One Conversation at a Time

By James Laflin and Robert Werth

This article was originally published in the 2020 XVIII edition of the Journal of the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds, (CCCUO). The article is shared in its entirety here with permission of the Journal of the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds, (CCCUO). Please check the link above to access the full archive of this beneficial journal.

The Premise

Given the times we're living through and all the voices that need to be heard, the premise of this essay is that we need to get much better at listening to those voices; everyone's.  And we need to do it now; one conversation at a time.  So, what would that look like?  Here are a few small but challenging suggestions.

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Article Share: Difficult Conversations, Virtually Speaking

by The Independent Voice

If you haven’t had the opportunity to read fellow IOA Member Mark Patterson’s article published via Medium.com, I encourage you to take the time to read through Difficult Conversations, Virtually Speaking when you can. The article provides strategies to help us prepare to have meaningful conversation within the virtual platforms we are now heavily experiencing. The article is not only helpful for our own practice, but is worth sharing with your constituents as they would benefit from the strategies as well.

One aspect I found meaningful speaks to the importance of check-ins at the beginning of each meeting. Our work/family domain boundaries are blurred and having time to intentionally shift from one domain to the next can help develop presence in the meeting for all. What strategies do you find helpful in this article? What other articles would you like to share as we navigate this surreal world we are experiencing?

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