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Student Conflict Prevention and Conflict Management

Conflict Prevention Assistance

The Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Prevention staff works with campus partners to uphold an environment of safety, encouragement, and equality. Also, we facilitate and help others develop education and programming initiatives in areas where we want students to make positive choices such as alcohol and other drugs, sexual assault or sexual violence prevention, bystander intervention, and coping skill development. Other roles include assisting partners with a diverse and inclusive campus, and case management for conflict prevention and management.

Contact Information

Sam Jennings
Dean of Students
E-mail
605-688-4493


Let's Talk: Conversation vs. Confrontation

Sometimes it feels like it would be easier to avoid conflict with someone – that could be family, friends, a teacher, etc. The trouble with doing that is sometimes our feelings will fester, and the situation could become worse than what we ever wanted it to be. If we are having a disagreement with someone – say a roommate – then it makes it even more challenging to hold your feelings in because you live together.

So how can you converse with them rather than totally confront them?

Let’s start on the back-half – what is confrontation?

Confrontation: “the clashing of forces or ideas” [Merriam-Webster]

And conversation?

Conversation: “exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas” [Merriam-Webster]

If you look at the two, there is a difference between them. Sometimes we’re told to “confront someone,” and that may be encouraged if we’re not standing up for ourselves, have a point we really want to make, or want to stand up for another. But look at a key term in the definition: clashing. We don’t want you to clash, and I think many people don’t really like clashing with others. So, let’s look at the better option: conversation and exchange. Below you’ll find steps to help you converse better with your roommate, your family, and others.

Remember to LEARN. You’ll be able to increase your understanding about one another, increase your personal awareness about yourself, and ultimately, you can work better together.

Steps to Conversation and Exchanging Opinions or Ideas:

Listen to one another’s view

Encourage one another

Act compassionately during the dialogue

Realize your common interests

Negotiate a new way of communicating and acting