Arbitration and Mediation
“Arbitration” is a term of art. If a contract requires arbitration, neither party may file a claim in court. Instead, the parties must appear before an arbitration panel to argue their claims and the ruling of the panel is final and binding on both parties. Do not agree to an arbitration provision because you may not surrender the University’s ability to bring a claim in a court of law.
“Mediation,” on the other hand, is an agreement to negotiate claims before a disinterested third party. Mediation can frequently lead to a mutually agreeable settlement. Even if it does not, either party can walk away at any time and proceed with a claim in court. You may agree to a provision to mediate because it does not bind the University to do anything other than negotiate in good faith.