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January 15, 2004

Conflict Resolution class will give important skill in avoiding violence

Everyone has conflicts, but some Gavilan College students will learn how to make conflicts productive and enlightening instead of escalating to violence.

This spring, Gavilan College will offer a class in conflict resolution to help students learn listening, mediation, and negotiation skills that will serve them at school, home, in the workplace and in the community. All are welcome to enroll in the Wednesday evening class, which will provide valuable skills, not only for students, but for professionals in many fields.

The class, a political science course, will also examine national and international conflicts and the approaches that
have been effective and ineffective in resolving them.

"The class provides alternatives to violence on the personal and political levels," said Dr. Marc Turetzky, political science instructor. "It will give people practical ways to break cycles of violence."

Recent startling statistics on domestic violence in Santa Clara and San Benito Counties convinced him that the class is much needed. Besides the regular class meetings, students will participate in service learning projects in the community to reduce violence and promote mediation as a viable alternative.

"They'll develop a project of personal interest, and then we'll help them individually tailor a plan for conflict resolution in some public or personal setting," he said.

Turetzky is also drawing on contacts to attract a series of guest speakers to the class, which will be open to the public on nights that speakers attend. Dolores Huerta of the United Farm Workers and Simon Salinas, state assemblyman, have already agreed to be a part of the class. Starhawk, a deep ecologist and pacfist, is also being invited.

Turetzky is
working with Salvador Alvarez of the County Office of Human Relations Dispute Resolution unit to teach the mediation skills used by county mediators. Students will get "a real experience," he said, by working to assess and resolve real conflicts.

For information, contact Turetzky at mturetzky@gavilan.edu, or register for Political Science 6 through the Admissions Office, 848-4735. The course is three units and begins on January 28. Class meetings will be held at the Gavilan College campus in Gilroy.

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Last modified: August 17, 2011
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