Exploring Restorative Justice as a Healing Process to Address Caste Discrimination Cases on US Campuses
Jeffery Long | Professor of Religion, Philosophy and Asian Studies | Elizabethtown College
Vrajvihari Sharan | Director for Hindu Life & Adjunct Professor | Georgetown University
Asha Shipman | Director of Hindu Life | Yale University
We propose forming a working group to explore the feasibility a restorative justice response on US campuses to address caste discrimination. US campuses have been considering or have added caste discrimination as part of their non-discrimination policies which move it into the domain of criminal justice and equate it to racial discrimination. In recent years campus administrators have begun employing restorative justice practices to address student misconduct and bias incidents in a way that aids in conflict resolution while also fostering healing, fairness, feelings of belonging, and closure. The topic of caste is very tender and sensitive within the US Hindu community, leading to deep anxiety about how to properly address it. Hindu chaplains are well equipped to create safe and equitable spaces similar to the restorative justice space. Analogous practices within dharmic traditions which mirror restorative justice practices suggest restorative practices would be well received by the Hindu community.