The Ombuds Office
phone: 208-885-7668
fax: 208-885-8947
Carol Ryrie Brink Hall, G-4
University of Idaho
PO Box 441106
Moscow, ID 83844-1106
Ombuds Email


Phone: 208-885-6111
Toll-free: 88-88-UIDAHO
Fax: 208-885-9119
Student Union Building
875 Perimeter Drive MS 4264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264


Phone: 208-334-2999
Fax: 208-364-4035
322 E. Front Street
Boise, ID 83702

Coeur d'Alene

Phone: 208-667-2588
Toll-free: 888-208-2268
Fax: 208-664-1272
1031 N. Academic Way,
Suite 242
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

Idaho Falls

Phone: 208-282-7900
Fax: 208-282-7929
1776 Science Center Drive, Suite 306
Idaho Falls, ID 83402

Useful Tips and Resources

  • Conflict Wisdom: Gaining a Perspective on Conflict*

    Most people really want to agree and get along; they are usually just as surprised and uncomfortable by disagreements as the party with whom they are disagreeing.

    Conflict is as natural as the rain. It's periodic presence should not surprise us any more than a rain shower would when the conditions are right. (Author unknown)

    Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way--that is not easy.   --Aristotle

    It takes courage and humility to seek a peaceful resolution to any conflict. We must be brave enough to honestly share our own perspective and humble enough to genuinely try to understand and accept an alternative perspective.

    At the foundation of every nearly conflict is an unmet need or the fear of a need going unmet.

    No two people will hold exactly the same perspective of any event, fact, situation or value. Differences can be shared, explored, revised, reinterpreted, bridged, accepted and/or surmounted.

    In most cases, it is not the objective conflict that becomes our undoing; it is our response to the perceived conflict. Our individual response can determine whether any difference of opinion, fact, values or resources will lead us to manifest conflict, joint resolution, conciliation, or an all-out war.


    * The original sources of the information above is unknown. It is provided here solely to help the reader better appreciate the nature of human conflict and is not for republication.

  • Keys to Constructive Problem Solving

    Be unconditionally constructive

    Treat each person with respect

    -use courteous language

    -control volume

    -share “air time”

    -do not interrupt or engage in over-speak

    -remain seated

    Be forward looking

    Separate the person from the problem

    Listen for understanding, speak to be understood

    Check out assumptions

    Speak for yourself and what is true for you

    Be prepared to accept multiple perspectives

    Work towards mutual understanding

    Be prepared to apologize and/or forgive


  • Productive Attitudes for Addressing Conflict

    Parties in a dispute can generally find the best solutions to their problem.

    All parties in conflict have interests and needs that are important to them.

    The best solutions should meet the most important interests of all parties.

    Conflicts may involve compatible interests and needs as well as conflicting ones.

    There are usually more than one acceptable solution to a problem.

  • Ground Rules for Problem Solving Meetings

    Communicate with respect.

    Speak for yourself and what is true for you.

    Aim for understanding.

    Participate in good faith.

  • Emotions and Conflicts

    How we respond to our own emotions affects our capacity to hear, understand and respond to others. They can lead us to understanding and learning or blind us.

    Conflict can trigger negative emotions; resolving conflict can result in positive emotions.

    People can be uncomfortable when expressing or listening to strong feelings because they

    -have difficulty expressing emotions constructively

    -are unsure how to respond

    -fear losing control

  • Myths about Emotions

    They are not normal.

    They should be ignored.

    They are a sign of weakness or irrationality.

    They can’t be controlled.

    They are not proper in the workplace.


  • Facts about Emotions

    They are natural to all people and present in all relationships.

    They impact our perception of communications, actions, facts, motives and attributions.

    They can impact our behavior and choices.

    They are expressed differently by each person. (e.g. issues, timing, directness, behaviors, intensity, and duration)

  • Managing Emotions During Conflict

    Slow down.

    Manage your own emotions first.

    Remember the importance of timing, tone and tact.

    Describe your feelings; don’t act them out.

    Listen for the other party’s feelings and acknowledge them.

    Accept each others' feelings. (Arguing about feelings is unproductive and escalates conflict.).

    Set limits for behavior. (Safety and wellbeing always come first.)

    Request timeout, if needed, to allow for regrouping emotionally and for reflection.

    Set a mutually acceptable time to return to the discussion (and follow through).

    Ask for help, if needed. (There are times when certain concerns, working relationships, previous experiences, and personal limitations may call for a neutral party.)