UNT students take top award at National Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Students from the University of North Texas received the first-place team trophy in the Mediation Division of the National Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament.

The tournament, held earlier this month at John Marshall School of Law in Chicago, attracted 30 teams, each consisting of three to five undergraduate students. Colleges and universities may enter two teams in the National Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament.

The team members take turns performing as mediators, clients and the clients' advocates during the tournament's rounds, with students from teams from four different colleges or universities represented in each round. The International Academy of Dispute Resolution, which administers the tournament, gives each team five conflict dispute cases a week before the tournament, but students do not know which case is used in a round until 30 minutes before the round begins.

Each mediation begins with the two co-mediators' opening statements, followed by the two advocates' opening statements. The mediation then follows a caucus format, with the clients and their advocates in separate rooms and the mediators visiting each client to conduct confidential sessions, called private caucus sessions, until the case is settled. During the private caucus sessions, the clients are able to speak candidly with the mediators.

In the tournament, the mediations in each round last no more than two hours. Judges award mediation and advocate-client points to each student based on his or her performance. The top four teams in each category compete in the Championship Final Mediation. The UNT students competed with students from Boston University, the University of Sioux Falls and the University of Texas at Dallas, who took home the trophy in the Advocacy Division.

The UNT students participating in the National Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament were Rehan Ali, a senior from Carrollton; April Brown, a junior from Carrollton who was named the tournament's Top Mediator; Erin Clegg, a senior from Denton; Ceci Hutchings, a sophomore from Austin; Austin Ross, a sophomore from Stafford and Drew Robertson, a sophomore from Crowley. All are political science majors.

Barbara Kirby, a lecturer in the UNT Department of Political Science and advisor to the mediation team, called the National Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament "a unique event, in that cooperation is essential in order to succeed."

"Mediation develops skills that can be used in every aspect of life, and I am confident that our team members will draw on this experience throughout their futures," she said. "I am very proud of our students and their performance at the national tournament."

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108