Mock Mediation to Host First Tournament

Erin McGuiness

Georgia Southern University’s Mock Mediation club is hosting their first ever mock mediation tournament April 8 and 9 and will be open to all student organizations. The goal of the tournament is to provide students with the hands on experience and skills to use communication in order to successfully mediate a mock court case.

The event is open to all students with the intent to promote conflict resolution by engaging in mediation, resolving problems and mastering communication skills.

The tournament teaches students how to mediate issues by teaching conflict resolution and communication skills.

“Conflict resolution will be something that everyone will have to deal with in their lives and so by increasing the visibility of the skills of our members we can disseminate these skills to community members and university participants,” Laura E. Agnich, Ph.D., faculty advisor for the mock mediation club said.

All student organizations are invited to create a 3-4-person team, consisting of a client, advocate and mediator, to compete in the mediation tournament. The teams themselves pick who is the advocate, client and mediator and they also take turns and switch up their role throughout the tournament.

However, the tournament is not closed to GSU organizations. Mediation teams from across the region are invited to participate in the tournament to practice their conflict resolution skills and spread the mediation mindset with Georgia Southern.

Phi Alpha Delta (PAD) and Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) have confirmed that they will have teams in this year’s tournament.

“We consider registering a team from TKE, as not only a commitment to an organization that we strongly support and love, but also as a way of improving our own professional skill set in conflict and dispute resolution,” Dylan John, officer of Tau Kappa Epsilon and an active member of the Mock Mediation Club, said.

Students participating in the tournament are required to go to a training session. This training will also be open to the public, with the intent to provide the opportunity for people to go to the training and learn about mediation and conflict resolution even if they do not compete.

“The training will allow participants to hone their skills not just in mediation but also being an advocate for a client who’s upset and to enable people to reach a negotiated agreement where everyone leaves feeling satisfied that they are heard,” Agnich said.

Kunjea Patel, information system major and mock mediation club member, said coming to the training sessions will help students gain various life skills such as conflict resolution, leadership, communication, team management and time management for various situations in life.

“You should consider being a part of the invitational tournament because it allows you to practice those communication skills and how to verbalize your thoughts effectively and verbalize the emotion part of the cases they give you,” Giselle Devot, senior communication studies major and vice president of public relations for the mock mediation club, said.

Agnich states that everybody argues and experiences conflicts, so knowing how to effectively resolve conflicts with mediation is an essential tool in life.

Alexis McGhee, junior pre-nursing major and chemistry minor, is a member of the Black Student Nursing Association and says that they are considering making a team in the upcoming tournament.

“I think we’re interested so the only thing we need to do now is get people to get involved,” McGhee said. “I think stuff like this is cool and I like peace.”

The mock mediation club hopes to have a panel of around 16 judges – eight local lawyers and mediators and eight more experienced judges who have participated in previous tournaments.

The judges are scoring based on communication skills, how well the case was mediated (unbiased and fair) and their conflict resolution skills in mediation and advocacy according to Agnich. The winner will be based on the winning ballots and the total score.

Registration, which starts on March 25, is $15 for GSU teams and $25 for non-GSU teams.

For more information visit the mock mediation table at the rotunda every Thursday from 11-1 p.m. or e-mail Mock Mediation president, Jessica Shanken,

Photo courtesy of Dylan John.