The new Director of DSA’s Office of Student Conflict Resolution (OSCR) got interested in conflict during his undergraduate years. "I was talking to a fraternity brother who was pretty upset about someone he assumed was flirting with his ex-girlfriend. This big, macho guy stormed out of the room angrily and said 'I'm going to go talk to that guy' and within ten minutes the whole thing was resolved; I was amazed!" At that moment Jay realized he had been wasting unnecessary emotional energy by avoiding difficult conversations. Armed with this new understanding, he went on to complete an honors thesis on fraternity and neighborhood conflict, receive a Masters in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine University, and a law degree from the University of Utah.
Jay’s love of student affairs grew in part from his time as Assistant Dean of Students for the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, where he also taught classes and practiced law. At OSCR, Jay gets to combine these many interests and areas of expertise – conduct, law, conflict, mediation, and student affairs - into the expanding field of student conflict resolution.
Jay appreciates that OSCR is unique nationally in terms of the broad range of programs offered. "Revolutionary may sound like a big word, but the model we apply to conduct and conflict on campuses is just that. Most higher education conduct offices are only able to address a very small percentage of total conflicts in the community – those that progress to the highest level and are often the most combative. But at OSCR we're able to address the much more common conflicts. We have the skills and resources to support getting involved at all levels." By teaching peace and actively promoting resolution skills through conflict coaching, OSCR works to prevent many campus conflicts from escalating altogether, in addition to managing those conflicts that need third-party intervention.
Jay joined the Division of Student Affairs in July of 2010; when he and his fiancé moved here from Utah they were admittedly eager to find opportunities to connect with nature. "We've been pleasantly surprised by what seems like hundreds of parks and lots of trails. What made me comfortable enough to leave our friends and the places we love in Utah was the warm welcome from everybody in the Division of Student Affairs. I was greeted with hugs instead of handshakes!"