Students talking and walking together on campus


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 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 also monitors the campus climate and tracks data on bias reports. By identifying patterns in the data, RESPECT is equipped to proactively decrease the prevalence of future occurrences. This may be achieved through 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 Keaton Wong, Director of Equal Opportunity, Compliance, and Title IX at 718-990-2660; [email protected].

Learn More

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

The RESPECT Bias Response Team has completed over 30 hours of training to help prepare them for their role. These trainings consisted of social justice education, restorative justice education, bias response, and hands-on practice.  The committee will continue to meet on a regular basis to continue education, proactively on prevention methods, and to support and respond to individual and community needs.

RESPECT Bias Response Team 2020-21

Student Members

  • Gabriel Leander '23
  • Emin Senturk'21

Employee/Faculty Members

  • Leonard Breton, Associate Director, Student Development & R.I.S.E. Mentoring
  • Manouchkathe Cassagnol, Associate Clinical Professor, Clinical Pharmacy Practice
  • Michelle Cadle, Equal Opportunity Specialist
  • Dionne DorseyDirector, Office of Donor Relations, Advancement
  • Mona I. El-Shahat, Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs, Staten Island
  • Robert Fanuzzi, Associate Provost, Staten Island Campus and Associate Professor, SJC English
  • Danielle Haynes, Associate Director, Equal Opportunity/Compliance
  • Rosa Hanco, Assistant Director, Student Life
  • Nancy Kaplan, Associate Provost, Academic Support Services and External Academic Partnerships
  • Maria Rappa, Assistant Dean, The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies
  • Claudine Savain-Abrahams, Project Manager Legal Services
  • Lily Scarabino, Certification Officer
  • Hira Shafeeq, Associate Professor Industry Professional, College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences
  • Stephanie A. Shaw, Ed.D, Adjunct Assistant Professor
  • Edwin Tjoe, Assistant Dean of E-Learning and Director of America Reads and America Serves
  • Nicole Torres, Director of Fraternity & Sorority Life and Community Development


  • Monique Jernigan, Executive Director of Multicultural Affairs, Director of Inclusivity Resource Centers
  • Keaton Wong, Director of Equal Opportunity & Compliance & Title IX Coordinator


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
Long Island Graduate Center –
(631) 218-7778

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 2021 RESPECT Application Form.