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Respond and Partner to Engage our Community Team

RESPECT is the University’s bias response team. It comprises students, faculty, administrators, and staff who voluntarily serve to host community-building circles and provide direct support to any individual impacted by prejudice-based aggression. This may include providing assistance with reporting bias, guidance through the investigative process, and access to safety and support resources. When appropriate, it may also include facilitating restorative conversations between affected parties to promote healing and learning outcomes.

Restorative Justice at St. John's University

RESPECT is designed to build trust and accountability in our community.  To accomplish this, RESPECT proactively hosts community-building circles.  It also partners with key units to monitor the campus climate and track data on bias reports. By identifying patterns in the data, RESPECT is equipped to respond and to proactively implement strategies to decrease the prevalence of future occurrences. This may be achieved through healing circles, trainings, workshops, speakers, community forums, and other educational programming to openly engage students, faculty, administrators, and staff in conversations about social justice, equity, and inclusion.

Please direct any questions about RESPECT to any of the Tri-Chairs or email [email protected].  For questions about Title IX, bias reporting or compliance, please contact Danielle Haynes, Director of Equal Opportunity, Compliance, and Title IX at 718-990-2660; [email protected].

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The RESPECT Bias Response Team consists of faculty, staff, and students who have volunteered their time to assist the university in building community and addressing incidents of bias that affect the individual and/or community.

The RESPECT Bias Response Team are members who have completed extensive, ongoing training to help prepare them for their role. These trainings consist of diversity education, social justice education, restorative justice education, bias response, and hands-on practice.  Following the initial training of all new committee members, the committee will continue to meet on a monthly basis to continue education, plan community-building circles, proactively employ prevention methods, and to support and respond to individual and community needs.

RESPECT Bias Response Team 

    RESPECT is currently accepting applications.  Members of respect will be asked to participate in an initial 5-day training.  Post the training, members can expect to devote about 10-12 hours each semester to RESPECT.  If you would like to serve on the 2023-24 RESPECT Bias Team, please fill out the application.  Selected members will receive training, beginning Spring 2023.  Upon official selection, new members will be listed below.

    RESPECT Leadership (Tri-Chairs)

    • Monique Jernigan, Assistant Vice President for Equity & Inclusion 
    • Nancy S. Kaplan, Associate Provost, Academic Support Services and External Academic Partnerships
    • Sophie Bell, Professor, Institute for Core Studies and Director of Education and Programming in the Academic Center for Equity & Inclusion

    If you have questions for the RESPECT Bias Response Team, please contact [email protected].

    Restorative Responses and Processes

    The RESPECT Bias Response Team has three main roles when it comes to bias response: respond to affected individuals, respond to the community, and assist with prevention.  Below are examples of how we will fulfill these roles.

    Responding to Affected Individuals
    • Guide affected individuals through investigative/restorative processes
    • Help affected individuals get support and accommodations (safety, counseling, academic, housing)
    Responding to Community
    • Hold community building circles in response to incidents that affect the broader University community
    • Send University-wide internal communications making it clear that the University does not condone acts of bias, discrimination, and harassment
    • Analyze data on bias reports to identify trends/concerning patterns
    • Target areas of concern with educational programming (e.g., training, speakers, etc.)
    Restorative Process for Individuals

    Individuals who report issues of bias go through an intake an assessment process with the Office of Human Resources, Equal Opportunity & Compliance (EOC) Office. They will be able to (1) talk about the details of the incident, (2) provided resources, which include connecting to someone on RESPECT, and given the option about which process to choose.

     If an individual chooses the restorative process, here are the steps of that process.

    1. Harmed party chooses restorative process
    2. EOC interviews responsible party and explains harmed party has chosen restorative process
    3. Responsible party takes responsibility and is willing to participate in restorative process
    4. Responsible party signs agreement providing that should restorative process fail, EOC will refer matter for corrective action
    5. Two RESPECT facilitators are selected; EOC provides summary of the incident
    6. Facilitators pre-conference with all parties
    7. Restorative conference is held, resulting in action plan for responsible party
    8. Facilitators follow up with parties to ensure action plan has been or is being implemented
    Restorative Process for Communities

    Individual or group incidents may grow into community incidents.  When community incidents arise, the RESPECT Bias Response Team will be there to assess the impact, address the harm, and assist in community healing. 

    If an incident occurs, here are the steps of that process.

    1. The incident goes through the appropriate university channels
    2. If RESPECT is asked to assist in community healing, they will assess the impact
    3. RESPECT will then work with campus partners to address the harm using community circles
    4. RESPECT will share the logistics of when or where these community circles are to occur
    5. RESPECT will assign facilitators to assist with addressing the harm
    Prevention Process

    The Office of Equal Opportunity & Compliance (EOC) will compile and analyze data on trends/concerning patterns. 

    1. The EOC will share the compiled data with the RESPECT Bias Response Team.
    2. The RESPECT Bias Response Team will review data and make recommendations
    3. The recommendations will consist prevention methods such as training, speakers, education, forums, etc. aimed at addressing and preventing future harmful behaviors from occurring.
    4. The RESPECT Bias Response Team will partner with relevant offices and departments to host and disclose the details of outlined prevention methods.

    At St. John’s, the RESPECT Bias Response Team uses restorative justice values and practices to assist in addressing incidents of bias and/or community issues.

    Restorative Justice (RJ) at St. John's

    Restorative justice is a collaborative decision-making process that includes victims, offenders, and others who are seeking to hold offenders accountable by having them (a) accept and acknowledge responsibility for their offenses, (b) to the best of their ability, repair the harm they caused to victims and communities, and (c) work to reduce the risk of re-offense by building positive social ties to the community.

    Restorative processes help educate community members about the need for civic commitment and build student capacity for evaluating the impact of their behavior on the community.  The restorative values of repairing harm, reintegration, and community building is central to the process.

    Restorative circles are a useful practice in the restorative justice process that uses authentic dialogue to promote understanding, build community, and accountability.  These dialogues take place with participants sitting in circle, so they are sometimes called circle dialogues or community circles.  

    Restorative justice conferences are a structured meeting between offenders, victims, and both parties’ family and friends, in which they deal with the consequences of the wrongdoing and decide how best to repair the harm.  Neither a counseling nor a meditation process, conferencing is a victim-sensitive, straightforward problem-solving method that demonstrates how citizens can resolve their own problems when provided with a constructive forum to do so.

    A restorative conference can be used in lieu of traditional disciplinary or justice processes.  Participation in conferences is voluntary.  Offenders and victims may choose to participate in a conference.  Here, offenders may choose to repair the harm they have caused.  Conferences often hold offenders accountable while providing them with an opportunity to discard the “offender” label and reintegrate into their community.

    The beginning of a conference includes storytelling by the offender and each of the harmed parties.  The storytelling in a restorative justice process is designed to explore the harm caused by an offense.

    At St. John’s, RESPECT members have been trained on how to facilitate restorative justice circles and conferences.  Our goal is always to assist in addressing individual and/or community harm and to help understand the needs of those affected by the incident.

    If you have been impacted by bias, below are some on campus and off campus safety and wellness resources that can help you move forward from your experience. 


    On Campus:

    St. John's University Department of Public Safety

    Queens Campus
    ROTC Building/McDonald Center
    Goethals Avenue by Gate 6
    (718) 990-5252

    Staten Island Campus
    Spellman Hall, Room 116
    (718) 390-4487

    Manhattan Campus
    Front Desk
    (212) 277-5155

    Off Campus:

    New York City Police Department – Call 911


    On Campus:

    Center for Counseling & Consultation

    Queens Campus
    Marillac Hall, Room 130
    (718) 990-6384
    Staten Island Campus
    Spellman Hall, Room 101
    (718) 390-4451

    Campus Ministry

    Queens Campus
    (718) 990-6255
    [email protected]
    Staten Island Campus
    (718) 390-4475
    [email protected]

    Off Campus:

    The STEVE Fund is dedicated to the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color. Text STEVE to 741741 to connect with a trained and culturally competent crisis counselor for free, 24/7.

    For St. John's Employees and their family members, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers free confidential services and resources. Call the 24-hour helpline at (800) 833-8707 or visit (company code "STJOHNS"). 

    Click here to fill out the RESPECT Member Application Form.