Promoting Equity & Relationships among Colleagues (PERC)

from fuchsia to gold. There are yellow topographic lines as accents. A stylized graphic of two people shaking hands is in turquoise on the left side. Between them reads PERC with an equal sign under. To the right, in yellow and white letters, Promoting Equity & Relationships Among Colleagues.

The Goal of the PERC Program

The Promoting Equity and Relationships amongst Colleagues (PERC) program aims to promote healthy relationships between university employees by providing space to build or repair relationships. The approach uses a restorative circle that provides a place to begin to talk about conflict in a healthy, honest, and productive manner to mend and build our professional communities. We honor the global indigenous roots of restorative circles and invite you to think of this process as a starting point of your journey toward a healthier relationship with your colleague(s).

PERC is a collective of staff and faculty who have received extensive training in restorative practices. We are a community of learners rooted in the ongoing practice of restorative conversations so that we can hold spaces and opportunities for university employees to address conflicts that do not rise to the level of Title IX and/or Discrimination, Harassment, & Retaliation (DHR) policy violation.

Our current work is two-fold: 

Build Community: Community circles create a dialogic space for colleagues to express themselves, share experiences and challenges, and imagine how they can build on differences and commonalities to work together, honoring their whole (personal and professional) selves.

Address Conflict and Help Repair: Restorative circles provide a peer-led, community-based, empathetic approach to addressing and navigating colleague conflicts.

If you have any questions after reading through this site's content and would like to discuss the PERC process before submitting a concern or issue, please feel free to contact us at

  • You submit a written request/concern in the PERC portal
  • A PERC fellow will call you with some initial questions
  • You will meet with one or two PERC fellows for a more detailed conversation about your request/concern (~1 hour); we will also discuss any power dynamics that are inherent in your situation and create a plan to keep the space safe for everyone
  • If it is for a community-building circle, we will discuss purpose, existing social connection, and facilitation questions. For a restorative circle, we will ask if you are comfortable with us reaching out to the other involved parties
  • A community building circle requires approximately 1.5-2 hours. For a restorative circle, we will work with you and the other party toward holding a restorative circle, which will take approximately 3 hour


  • Are interested in working towards building, maintaining, and/or repairing an important working relationship
  • Are seeking a facilitated impartial, confidential*, voluntary dialogue to unpack emerging or gradually escalating tension, conflict, and/or misunderstanding that is getting in the way of working productively together
  • Are seeking an accessible, fair, equity-minded, and inclusive relationship-building space.
  • Need a conversational space that opens doors for deepening mutual understanding
  • Are choosing to address conflict but do not feel like you have enough skills to engage with it in a healthy and productive manner
  • Are stuck because you’ve been unsuccessful in your attempts to engage in healthy dialogue
  • Want to deeply learn and understand the root(s) of your conflict or disagreement
  • Have an established working relationship that you would like to improve
  • Notice that you are running away from conflict, but recognize the need to address it to prevent it from escalating and/or stagnating
  • Recognize fractures in your relationship and are looking to prevent further corrosion of your working relationship
  • Are looking for an opportunity to be heard and hear another person’s perspectives in a healthy, productive way
  • Are committed to considering the many forms of communication and ways of identifying problems utilized by diverse people and communities.

Are committed to developing healthy ways of talking about everyday conflicts such as misunderstandings, disagreements, microaggressions, conflicts of power, etc.


  • Assigning blame
  • Doling out punishment
  • Conducting clinical, healing, therapeutic, and/or judicial processes
  • Addressing Retention, Tenure, & Promotion issues
  • Initiating specific HR-related inquiries or processes
  • Guaranteeing a resolution, repair, or a win for parties involved in a conflict


Please note that, like you, PERC facilitators are mandated reporters of incidents of sexual violence, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. This means that if an intentional or unintentional disclosure of sexual violence, discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation incident(s) were to arise during our dialogue, we are obligated to submit a report to the Title IX/DHR office.

Founding Members

Petra Dekens

Denmark Diaz

The PERC Fellows

Amy Smith Professor, Psychology

Jesse Garnier Associate Professor Journalism

Ashmi Desai PERC co-director, Assistant Professor, Communication Studies

Cyrus Ginwala Professor/Chair, School of Music

Darleen Franklin Instructional Support Technician, Biology Department

Larry Birello, Manager for Student Rights and Responsibilities, Student Affairs & Enrollment Management 

Kai Burrus, PERC co-director, Professor, Biology department

PERC Fellows are available only during the academic year.