Mediation Team's Success Earns Spot in International Competition

After a second-place finish at nationals, the Loras team is headed to London, England in late march.

They may be small, but they are mighty. The Loras College mediation team is celebrating its most successful season to date after a second-place finish at the National Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament. The placement has also earned Loras an invitation to compete at the International Dispute Resolution Competition in London, England, in late March.

Mediation is a process where a neutral third party facilitates negotiation and voluntary decision making by parties in a dispute. Intercollegiate mediation consists of three to five students that are given a two-page case. One student becomes the mediator who helps the parties try to reach a settlement, while the other two students have the role of advocate and client. They compete against another university team of advocate-client, also working to solve the problem. Critic judges evaluate the students and award points for professionalism, oral advocacy, teamwork, creativity, listening and critical thinking skills.

Members of the Loras team were consistently ranked at the top of all performers in each round of the national tournament. “Going into the final round, Loras was ranked as the top mediation team by two points, but the championship final round starts fresh,” explains Coach Mary Lynn Neuhaus, professor of communication arts. “Boston University, five-time national champion, edged Loras out of the number one spot by less than one-fifth of a point.”

“I am extremely proud of my team,” said Heather Jackson (’12) (Dubuque, Iowa), team captain. “We have been placing in the top 10 for the past four years, so finally breaking into the top five and making it to the final round was excellent.”

Loras is one of only a handful of undergraduate schools, and the only college (the others are major state universities), to be invited to the international tournament. Jackson, Keith Flinn (’12) (Westport, Conn.), Elisha Reeg (’12) (Bellevue, Iowa) and Kevin Sheahan (’11) (DeKalb, Ill.) have been chosen to represent Loras in London, as each of them has achieved All-American Mediator status. In addition, both Sheahan and Jackson received All-American Advocate and Client awards.

While in London team members will attend lectures on mediation and international relations as well as compete against international law schools in mediation.
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