Enforcing Groundrules

Edward Howden

Former CRS Mediator, San Francisco Office

[Full Interview]

There was one other intra-tribal scene where a lot of folks were present and it was just not feasible to limit it to a four or five member team. Actually there were several teams from either side. There was a clan or family grouping, with history behind it, that was very unhappy for maybe a couple of generations. Some of the other members of the band insisted on being present. It wasn't public with press, but there was quite a crowd, and that got messy. People were standing up shouting, and it became pretty difficult to have any orderly process. After a time trying to keep it on track, I asked for a recess and spoke with some of the folks. I explained that we had agreed in advance who the people were who were going to handle this, and I told them that we were not going to be able to pull it off if it continued like it was going. "I don't want to tell anybody to go home, I can't tell anybody to go home," I said, " but how about we convene the original group in such and such a room." So we proceeded on that basis. But that was one case where it was it couldn't have gone anywhere on the basis on which it had started.