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Conflict is a part of life in any healthy community.  Conflict may arise whenever individuals work closely with each other. This may result from philosophical disagreements, personality differences, habitual behaviors, miscommunication, misunderstanding, or willful intent to promote one’s own agendas with insufficient regard to the well-being of others.  When handled poorly, conflicts can create exclusion, harm, and violence; when handled well, they can produce growth, safety, and healthy community life.

Grievances, for purposes of this document, are a specific, and potentially more serious, kind of dispute.  They may arise from inadequate or missing institutional policies, the misapplication of policies, or the failure to apply policies, which may result in discriminatory or harmful outcomes.

Eastern Mennonite University is committed to maximizing the positive energy of conflict while minimizing its negative consequences.  To this end, we strive to create a community of conflict-competent persons living and working in systems that promote repair of harms and restoration of relationships as a preferred response to conflict.

At EMU, the first approach to any conflict or grievance should be non-adversarial, undertaken with careful attention to fostering understanding and promoting problem solving. Our hope is that the majority of conflicts or grievances can be resolved through an informal process of conflict resolution.  Nonetheless, individuals have the right to request a formal process at any time.  In some instances, especially for particular kinds of grievances (for example, sexual harassment or misconduct), more formal processes may be necessary and appropriate as the first response.

The following informal and formal procedures are applicable to all students, faculty and staff of Eastern Mennonite University as well as applicants for faculty, staff or student status. These procedures are intended to comply with the requirements of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the general employee grievance policy of Eastern Mennonite University.  These procedures are subject to amendment and/or pre-emption by applicable law to the extent required to achieve compliance with existing or future regulations, statutes or court decisions and nothing  herein is intended to deny or limit any person’s right to any remedy under any state or federal law now or hereafter in effect.   Furthermore, nothing contained in this document should be construed as legal advice.  Persons are advised to seek legal counsel should they have specific legal questions or concerns.

 Grievance procedures can be handled in the following ways:


Complaints against students

Harrisonburg Campus- Jim Smucker
Vice President for Enrollment and Student Life
(540) 432-4135

Lancaster Site- Mary Krahn Jensen,
Associate Provost (Lancaster)

Complaints against faculty

Fred Kniss
(540) 432-4105

Complaints against staff

Jim Smucker

Vice President for Enrollment and Student Life

(540) 432-4025

A complete copy of these procedures is available upon request from the president's office or student life office.