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Student unrest on university campuses has been and continues to be an on-going concern for both campuses and the communities in which they reside. Historically, if students and/or faculty perceive either a lack of legitimate means to express their issues or unfair outcomes resulting from those means, then demonstrations ensue. Police are frequently involved in the arrest of demonstrators, and some confrontations, unfortunately, lead to violence, including death. In the past five years, there has been tragic loss of life on campuses in Haiti, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and India and student and faculty protests have occurred in the United States, Australia, Western Europe, and Africa.

A desire to provide mechanisms for fair and timely resolution to student and faculty concerns has resulted in the development of a variety of conflict management processes at universities, such as mediation, ombuds, and conciliation or negotiation services. Many programs claim success in handling disputes which have the potential for violence. However, program implementation has been idiosyncratic, lacking a systemic approach to both development and implementation.

This paper details a comprehensive system design approach for developing and implementing conflict management in a large public university system in Georgia, USA. Since 1995, Georgia has become a national exemplar in developing a model for the design and institutionalization of conflict management in higher education. This model and the implementation methods are presented.

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