Analysis of the Causes of Conflicts at Universities and Alternative Methods of Resolving Them. Part I: Mediation in Academic Disputes

Ewa Gmurzyńska


This article consists of two parts. The first part analyzes the causes of an increasing number of disputes at universities, resulting both from external factors related to the crises of the 21st century and from internal factors, i.e. the nature of universities, the increasing complexity of problems arising at universities and the changing role of universities in society. One of the reasons for the increased number of conflicts is the treatment of universities as service providers, which is a result of a change in understanding the role of universities. Students understand their role as consumers and this change alone causes an increased number of formal proceedings against universities. In response to this trend, universities in many countries are introducing or considering alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, which are less expensive and faster alternatives to litigation or disciplinary proceedings, and include an important element of universities’ mission of educating students in a spirit of respect and tolerance for the other party, and also choose methods in which the parties have the opportunity to influence the resolution of the dispute. The article analyzes mediation which is the most frequently used method of ADR in different countries in academic disputes. Although mediation, according to the analysis carried out in the article, perfectly fits into the idea of an autonomous and independent university, it is thus far widely used only in some countries. The analysis of the application of mediation in certain countries may be an important reflection on the more widespread introduction of this method at universities in other countries partiuculary because mediation is not confined to one legal system. In the second part of the study, the author analyzes the use of court proceedings in resolving academic disputes, the institution of an academic ombudsman, as well as mixed and adjudicatory methods of solving conflicts in higher education.


dispute resolution; ADR; academic disputes; mediation; academic ombudsman



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Data publikacji: 2021-03-31 14:40:17
Data złożenia artykułu: 2020-10-07 23:34:28


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