Monday, January 24, 2022

Harvard Law School Restorative Justice

Semester: 2022 Spring

Project Type: Dispute System Design

Students: Leslie Liu, Marlon Becerra, and Mtume Sangiewa

Students at Harvard Law School report that classroom conversation on thorny legal, political, and social questions can be strained, or at times hostile, or sometimes non-existent due to a fear (by faculty and students alike) that navigating deep divides in student beliefs is too fraught. Many on campus have expressed a strong desire for a stronger, healthier campus community that acknowledges differences on important matters and also encourages students, as future guardians of our profession, to engage with each other in a manner rooted in justice and mutual respect. This clinical project stems from an appreciation of the challenge and opportunity to address that broadly shared interest. DSD clinical students will assess campus stakeholders’ experiences with conflict at HLS and engage what a restorative justice process for addressing campus harm and conflict might look like.

Students will: 

  • Conduct interviews and focus groups with HLS students, administrators, faculty, and staff, as well as experts on restorative justice in schools;  
  • Survey restorative practices in other major institutions and in other countries (e.g., Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and others), and review current literature on restorative justice in higher education; and 
  • Assess whether a restorative justice process could and should be integrated into HLS’ community culture, and possibly make design recommendations for implementing one such process on our campus.