Students, Undergraduate

Advocating for restorative justice

June 05, 2017

By Allen Tung, SFU News

As Matty Taghipour prepares to graduate with a BA in criminology, not only has she earned top marks in academics, but also top marks in community engagement from her peers and faculty.

During her undergraduate studies Taghipour made time to lead the SFU Restorative Justice Club, which hosts events highlighting the value of restorative justice.

On Feb. 22, as part of Pink Shirt Day, for example, the Club set up a “pink wall” at the Burnaby campus to promote kindness over hate and to change the narrative around the word “wall.”

Taghipour’s interest and advocacy in this area stems from a foundational course in restorative justice, when she realized not all crimes have to go through the criminal justice system.

Restorative justice is rooted in the belief that some issues can be resolved by bringing the community together, including the victim and the offender, to have an open dialogue about how to heal and repair the harm.

Taghipour also volunteered her time to mentor new students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, helping them acclimate to university studies and life. Last year, she was a member of an SFU team that won an international, $3,000-prize for initiatives combating extremism, both online and offline.

In the community, she volunteers with the North Shore Restorative Justice Society, where she now facilitates cases between community members.

“I went into all of this thinking I wanted to give back and help my community and while that fact still remains, what has been so great about this journey is how much the community has given back to me,” she says.

After travelling abroad this summer, Taghipour plans to attend law school and continue her advocacy for restorative justice.