Duties and Powers
The Ombudsman is appointed to promote fundamental fairness to every member of the University community.
A. The role of the ombudsman is to assist all members of the University community in resolving their problems, and to recommend policy/procedural changes necessary to achieve fair treatment. The Office of the Ombudsman is not meant to replace established channels of assistance but may be used if an individual needs assistance in identifying where to go, would prefer to discuss a problem with a neutral party, or has already gone through established channels without satisfaction.
B. The ombudsman will investigate complaints and concerns having broad access to members of the University community, and to University records and reports (with the exception of medical, psychiatric, and psychological records which will be released only upon presentation of a notarized waiver signed by the individual whose records are requested, or other records privileged by law). The ombudsman has sole discretion as to whether a complaint warrants investigation, and what the scope of an investigation shall be.
C. The ombudsman will make recommendations regarding a complaint or grievance to appropriate officials. If a recommendation is not acted upon to the ombudsman's satisfaction, the ombudsman may seek relief from a higher authority of the appropriate party. The ombudsman has no authority to make binding decisions on behalf of the University.
D. The ombudsman will maintain records adequate to assist in the fulfillment of the ombudsman's duties. To the extent practicable, these records will be maintained in a manner that places priority on protecting the identity of individuals who have sought assistance.
E. The ombudsman will prepare annual reports on the operation of the Office of the Ombudsman and make them available to the University community.
Any member of the University community who is making a good faith effort to resolve a problem or raise a concern has the right to:
A. Contact and see the ombudsman during normal business hours to discuss his/her grievance. When necessary the ombudsman will provide special meeting arrangements outside of normal business hours.
B. Communicate with the ombudsman without retaliation by any University official, employee or student.
C. Discuss concerns with the ombudsman privately and confidentially. The Ombudsman will not communicate the identity of any individual who seeks assistance without the individual's permission, unless necessary to comply with the law or University policy. Except under those circumstances, if the Ombudsman reasonably believes that in addressing a complaint personally identifiable information may be revealed, the ombudsman will notify the individual and seek permission before proceeding.