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What Services does the Ombudsman Provide?

The Ombudsman will:

  • Listen to you and discuss your problems/concerns, identifying and evaluating with you options to resolve problems.
  • Provide information on resources within the University that may help you.
  • Open avenues of communication, investigate complaints, and gather information.
  • Serve as a neutral party to solve problems and resolve conflict. The Ombudsman does not take sides, but works to achieve fair outcomes.
  • Identify problem areas facing faculty, staff, and students, and recommend changes in University policies and procedures.

The Ombudsman can provide coaching; shuttle diplomacy; generic solutions (meaning a solution which protects the identity of one individual by applying it to a group); mediation for conflicts; track problem areas; provide options to whistleblowers or members of the organization with ethics concerns; and make recommendations for changes to policies or procedures in support of orderly system change.

In accordance with the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) "standards of practice," the University Ombudsman is neutral and operates outside of ordinary line and staff structures. The Ombudsman practices informally, with no management decision-making power and without accepting "notice" for the University. The Ombudsman typically keeps no case records and keeps confidentiality to the extent permitted by law. An exception occurs when there appears to be an imminent risk of serious harm to a person, and the Ombudsman can see no responsible option other than breaking confidence. Note, however, that the Ombudsman can almost always find "other responsible options," such as helping a visitor make an anonymous report about whatever appears to be the problem.