Summer Institute Right Relations Policy

We value compassion, so we promise that when any of us are out of covenant we will provide and participate in reconciliation processes so we can make our way back into covenant.

  • SI Covenant, adopted July 19,  2016


Summer Institute is an intergenerational community of Unitarian Universalists who gather together one week each summer for fellowship, fun, and spiritual growth. Many attendees find that SI is a transformative experience; however, conflicts and breaches of covenant will inevitably arise on occasion. The SI Committee on Ministry (SICoM) has created this policy to insure the integrity of our community and to provide processes through which right relations can be restored.


This policy applies to situations of interpersonal conflict within the SI community and when SI community members break the SI Covenant. It applies to all members of the SI community.  More specific policies may be written for specific segments of the SI community (e.g. the Youth or Young Adult communities).

Right Relations Process

In case of emergency or imminent physical harm, call 911 immediately, and then contact a member of the Ministry team or an SIPC member.

During SI, primary responsibility for implementing this policy lies with the Ministry team.  However, not all issues can be resolved during SI.  In this case, The SI Committee on Ministry and the CER Primary Contact will be responsible for managing the ongoing process.

The first step in most conflict situations is that individuals in conflict will attempt to resolve the issue themselves, as appropriate.  If an SI attendee has a concern that cannot be addressed by talking directly with the individual(s) involved, they should contact a member of the Ministry Team or a member of the appropriate leadership group (SIPC, SI Young Adult Panel, or SI Youth Panel), who will take it to the Ministry team.

The SI community recognizes that systems of power and oppression have an impact on how conflicts get expressed, labeled and resolved.  Our covenant calls on us to “model and respect healthy boundaries, so that our diverse community is safe for all.” In maintaining right relations, this means paying attention to power differentials and the effect they may have on conflict, and seeking out opportunities to provide support to those in traditionally marginalized identities.

During SI, the Ministry Team is responsible for evaluating the situation and identifying the resources and/or processes most appropriate for resolution.  Resources and tools include, but are not limited to:

  • Pastoral care
  • Natural pre-existing support systems such as family and friends.
  • Mediation:  Mediation assumes that both parties are on equal moral ground and are in dispute over alternative goods or alternative points of view. The focus is to create mutual understanding and a new point of agreement or common ground.
  • Restorative Justice Circles:  The Restorative Justice process can be used to bring conflicting parties back into the community rather than to punish the affected persons.  The task is to bring the the affected person(s) and the community into the process of establishing restitution via Justice Circles and thereby bring the community back to harmony. The criterion for initiating a Justice Circle whether the affected people want to use this process.
  • Law enforcement and College Security
  • Mental health services: Local emergency mental health services may be appropriate in extreme circumstances.



Ministry team:  In many cases, the Ministry team will serve as the primary point of contact. They will identify the process most appropriate to the situation, and either facilitate that process or refer the affected persons to the Restorative Justice Coordinator.

Summer Institute Planning Council (SIPC) members may also be the initial point of contact.  They will then refer people to the Ministry team or directly to the Restorative Justice Coordinator.

SI Youth Panel (SIYP) members may be the initial point of contact. They may then refer people to the Ministry team or directly to the Restorative Justice Coordinator.

SI Young Adult Panel (SIYAP) members may be the initial point of contact.  They may then refer people to the Ministry team or directly to the Restorative Justice Coordinator.

The Restorative Justice Coordinator assists with starting Justice Circles as requested and monitors the progress of all active Circles.

The Restorative Justice Coach is CER Staff Member who provides advice to the Restorative Justice Coordinator and Circle Facilitators.

The SICoM will provide contact information for SIPC members and the Ministry team so that attendees can easily contact someone if necessary.  The SICoM will contact people with appropriate training in the processes referenced in this policy, and establish a contact list of those willing to be on call for the Ministry team.  The committee will also provide the Ministry team with a list of location-specific resources (updated yearly).  The SICoM serves as a resource to the Ministry team during SI, and oversees any ongoing processes that extend beyond the week of SI.  The committee also ensures ongoing communication between the Ministry team, the CER Primary Contact, and SIPC as appropriate.  This committee also has primary responsibility for evaluating and reviewing this policy periodically.

CER Primary Contact for SI.

The Regional Primary Contact is the designated representative for the Central East Region of the UUA.  The Primary Contact should be informed and involved with legal and insurance issues that require the involvement of the Central East Region.



The Ministry team, SIPC, SIYAP, SIYP, and SICoM will maintain common standards of confidentiality, as appropriate to the situation.  Excepting mandatory reporting requirements and similar situations, the identity of individuals involved with the Ministry team and right relations processes will be kept confidential.

Assessment of Right Relations Policy

Ministry team members will fill out a feedback form each day summarizing the number of incidents and basic kinds of pastoral care provided during SI (add Document  name or Appendix or link?).

Only members of the SICoM and the Ministry team will have access to the raw data.  SICoM is responsible for summarizing and interpreting the data, making changes to the Right Relations Policy as appropriate, and making recommendations to the SIPC and Ministry team as appropriate.

SICoM will review the Right Relations Policy annually and revise it based on the feedback.


Appendix A:  SI 2017 Right Relations personnel

Ministry Team
Rev. Michelle Buhite
Rev. Lane Campbell
Rev. Dave Clements
Melissa Jeter
Rev. Elaine Strawn
Lori Fatchet-McGee (Coordinator)


Restorative Justice
Scott Piepho (Coordinator)
Rev. Renee Ruchotzke (CER Staff advisor, on site part-time during SI 2017)
Rev. Evin Carvill-Ziemer (CER staff advisor, available by phone during SI 2017)

The RJ Coordinator will have the list of Circle facilitators who are trained and available.


SI Planning Council(SIPC)
Gina Phillips (Chair)
Bruce Kent (Vice-chair)
Carol Dobbins
Dan Flippo
Krissy Brannan
Linda Fleming
Lois Weir
Lori Fatchet-McGee


SI Young Adult Panel
Caitlin Ballinger (Chair)
Nikki Hurlbut (Co-Chair)
Dalin Franz
Ryan Haker
Ashera Buhite
Henry McNabb (YA Chaplain)
Chelsea Jordan (YA Chaplain)


SI Youth Panel
Dave Gill (Adult Co-Chair)
Chris Hurlbut (Adult Co-Chair)
Lauren Straubhaar (Adult Co-Chair)
Alan Kerns (Youth Co-Chair)
Arielle Swinehart (Youth Co-Chair)
Tucker Phillips
Gavin Vanwinkle Bright
Jimmy Moore
Trecia Clinton
Katie Uhgrin
Kat Hawbaker (Adult Chaplain for Youth)
Claire Gill (Youth Chaplain)
Jackson Rudoff (Youth Chaplain)


CER Primary Contact for SI
Rev. Joan Van Becelaere


Appendix B:  Emergency Contact Information

Oberlin Police Department: 440 774 1061
Oberlin Fire Department 440 774 3211
Oberlin College Safety and Security 440 775 8911
Allen Memorial Hospital 440 775 1211