Mediation team wins double championship

October 16, 2013
2013 Peacemaker Challenge Mediation Tournament Advocacy and Mediation Champions

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville mediation team won a double championship at the 12th Annual Peacemaker Challenge Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament held Oct. 11-12 at UW-Platteville’s Markee Pioneer Student Center. The team took first place as both mediators and as advocates in a ten-team field from six schools.

The Peacemaker Challenge is an undergraduate, intercollegiate mediation tournament, one of the first held in the United States. In the tournament, students play the roles of advocates, clients and mediators and try to resolve disputes based on actual court cases. The students identify the underlying problems within each dispute so that the mediator can facilitate the process of reaching a peaceful resolution. Students are judged by practicing professional mediators and attorneys.

A dispute between a family and a school district over an education plan for a disabled student, a broken contract between two ambulance companies and a fight between a doctor and a nurse in a delivery room provided the scenarios to test the skills of the competitors.

The Pioneer team of Greg Atnip, a junior political science major from Richland Center, Wis.; Carissa Catalano, a senior with a double major in criminal justice and Spanish from Clay, N.Y.; Braden Ganter, a senior with a double major in political science and English from Cuba City, Wis.; Eric Johnson, a senior with a double major in criminal justice and political science from Hudson, Wis.; and Evan Seibel, a junior with a double major in criminal justice and political science from Fond du Lac, Wis., proved to be more than equal to the challenge.

Heading into the last round, UW-Platteville was in third place in both the advocacy and mediation events, but between Catalano as mediator, Johnson as advocate and Seibel as client, they swept all the judges’ ballots and grabbed the top prize for both events.

“Our main advantage was that we were strong across our entire team,” said the team’s coach, Dr. John Rink, professor of political science at UW-Platteville. “We had consistently outstanding performance from everyone. Mr. Ganter and Mr. Atnip were very successful in their roles in earlier rounds. I am very proud of the whole team.”

In the final round, Professor Mary Lynn Newhaus of Loras College and Professor Ben Bartells of the University of Dubuque judged Catalano. Ron Collins of the Dubuque Area Labor Management Counsel and Professor Mark Norris of Grace College judged Johnson and Seibel. Dr. James Hoolihan of Lewis University tabulated the scores.

Following the mediation tournament, the students began to prepare for the 2013 National Intercollegiate Mediation Championship, held at Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa, Nov. 1-2. Two student teams from UW-Platteville will compete in the national competition.

At the end of the fall semester, UW-Platteville will have participated in mock trials and mock mediation for 20 years.

Contact: Dr. John Rink, professor, department of social sciences, (608) 342-1795,

Written by: Laurie A. Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, (608) 342-6191,


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