Parents and Families

LSA Senior Josh Handell has a thrilling problem to face as he gets ready to graduate this spring: should he attend Harvard or Yale Law School?

Josh’s interest in the law has grown during his employment at the Office of Student Conflict Resolution, where he began working the summer after his sophomore year.

OSCR provides a variety of programs and services designed to support a safe and just university community while helping students learn how to manage and resolve conflict peacefully.

"Conflict is everywhere, but it's considered a universal negative when really it’s an opportunity for growth, to really work out the underlying issues," Josh points out. "And without conflict there wouldn’t be lawyers. If you’re going to value the law and you want to be an attorney, you have to see some value in conflict.”

While working toward a triple major in Economics, French and International Law, Josh grew more interested in the idea that “conflict doesn’t have to be a zero sum game—with a winner and a loser, the victor and the vanquished.” OSCR’s spectrum model of conflict resolution was a good fit with his other interests. This integrative learning process has extended in both directions. He’s used training and experiences from OSCR in his classes and used his learning from the field of economics in his work at OSCR.

Josh has served as the first point of contact for students at OSCR.

“It was rewarding to meet with kids who are often very scared and make the process seem less intimidating," he says.

He also meets with students accused of violating the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities, and now participates in deciding which educational measures or sanctions will be most helpful for each individual.

Josh has continued his work at OSCR this year, and he's planning a trip to visit both Harvard and Yale Law Schools over U-M’s spring break. In fact, he was heating up his lunch in the break room at OSCR when he got his acceptance call from Harvard.

“I have no doubt that it was my experience with the spectrum model that set me on the course that I'm pursuing," he says. "My law school personal statement was about my experiences here at OSCR, learning to speak a new language of adaptable dispute resolution in which both parties can walk away feeling that the conflict has had a positive outcome.”

Would you like to support OSCR’s work helping students learn how to manage and resolve conflict peacefully? Donate to OSCR.