Conflict is an unavoidable part of living in a community. At Eastern Nazarene College, having the ability to navigate and resolve conflict is a necessity.
It can be something as small as a roommate leaving dirty dishes laying around or as large as a full-blown physical fight erupting over a dispute. Conflict comes in all shapes and sizes, and, as members of the ENC community, ‘we are obligated to live in harmony with our peers,’ according to page 83 of the 2018-19 Student Handbook.
There are so many trustworthy and trained people across campus ready to listen to and assist you in navigating any issues you find yourself confronting. The primary places or people students should take their issues are the Brickley Center, The Student Development Office, and your Resident Assistant/Resident Director. However, if you believe yourself to be in imminent danger, please do not hesitate to call 911.
During my sophomore year at ENC, way back in 2010, I found myself in conflict with one of my peers. They had mistreated a classmate, and I confronted them afterward. Things got loud but not physical, and the next few months were spent in quiet tension. It wasn’t until months later when they knocked on my door and apologized to me (and to the other student) that anything could be resolved.
During those months of tension, I had no idea how to handle the situation. I had followed my principles and confronted them for what they did but had no plan for how to coexist afterward. I also had no idea where to bring up the issue or how to initiate any kind of reconciliation.
“When in conflict, it’s important to pause and take stock of yourself, figure out what you need and if you need help,” said Dr. Catherine Mueller-Bell.
Students are encouraged to engage with trusted faculty and staff on campus for support: “There are several on-campus employees dedicated to helping students navigate conflict,” continued Dr. Mueller-Bell.
There are two types of university employees available to students as resources: Privileged and Confidential according to Section 4 of the 2018-19 Student Handbook. Privileged employees, such as those at the Brickley Center and within Spiritual Development, will keep information confidential unless federal, state, or local law mandates otherwise. These are people who will listen, give guidance, and provide counseling should you need it.
Confidential employees handle cases dealing with sexual assault and are a safe place to go if you need to report an incident and wish to remain anonymous.
Conflict resolution is most difficult when one or both parties refuse to communicate. Grudges form and tensions rise until something finally gives. Perhaps the greatest tool at our disposal in conflict resolution is our ability to communicate with one another.