Restorative Justice Topic of Colorado State University’s School of Social Work Fall Forum Oct. 12

"Social Justice and Peace Making" is the topic of Colorado State University’s School of Social Work Fall Forum. The forum will focus on restorative justice – an alternative to taking a punitive approach to crime that helps people understand how the crime they committed affected others in their communities and how restitution can be made on a more personal and community level.

The 4th Annual Fall Forum will be held from 1-5 p.m. Oct. 12 in the Cherokee Park Room of the Lory Student Center on campus. The forum is free and open to the public, and no registration is required.

The program has been designed for individuals interested in community building, mediation, conflict resolution and social justice, including social workers, police officers, teachers, public servants and community service volunteers.

"The energy used in the expression of anger and revenge can be better used in ways that promote peaceful resolutions of conflict," said Deborah Valentine, director of the School of Social Work at Colorado State. "Peaceful strategies to achieve social justice in our world and in our communities are the focus of this year’s social work fall forum."

At 1 p.m., Hussain Siddiqui, professor in the Department of Social Work at Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi and a scholar in group work and social justice, will address gender issues in Islam. Following this discussion, Perrie McMillan and Officer Sue Long will focus on the restorative justice program in Fort Collins, Colo.

Jenny Kidd, director of the city of Fort Collins Community Mediation Program, will speak about the skills of conflict resolution using examples of mediated disputes in the community. Shay Bright, assistant director of the Colorado State Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services, will end the program by providing opportunities to build conflict resolution skills.

"As Susan Sharpe, author of ‘Restorative Justice: A Vision for Healing and Change’ states, restorative justice is a philosophy that views harm and crime as violations of people and relationships," Valentine said. "It is a holistic process that addresses the repercussions and obligations created by harm, with a view to putting things as right as possible. When compared with our current models of punishment, whether it is in the justice system or discipline in schools, restorative justice requires a paradigm shift in thinking about reactions to harm. This becomes most apparent when we compare the values and principles of restorative justice to those of the current justice system, which emphasizes punishment and retribution."

A full schedule of the Fall Forum follows.

1 p.m.          Welcome by Deborah Valentine, director of the School of Social Work

1:10-2 p.m.     Husain Siddiqui: "Social Justice, Gender Issues, and Islam"

2-3 p.m.     Perrie McMillan and Officer Sue Long: "Restorative Justice Program of Fort Collins"

3-3:15 p.m.     Break

3:15-4:15 p.m.     Jenny Kidd: "Community Mediation Program Coordinator for the city of Fort Collins"

4:15-5 p.m.     Shay Bright: "Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services" at Colorado State University

For more information about the Fall Forum, call (970) 491-6612.