The Office of Ombuds Policies and Principles

i. Establishing an Ombuds Office

Pursuant to recommendations from the President’s Commission on Social Justice, the University has established the Office of the University Ombuds to serve faculty, staff, administration, and graduate students.

ii. Role of the Office of the University Ombuds

The Ombuds office is meant to be a place employees and students can go outside of official university channels to address concerns without fear of reporting, retaliation or judgment. The Ombuds will only report general trends and patterns of complaints directly to the University President, and without breaching confidentiality.

iii. Scope of Services

Matters addressed by the Ombuds may include, disputes, other interpersonal conflicts, or questions about University policies, practices, or services.

The Ombuds may take any number of steps to responsibly address concerns raised, including:

  • Informal discussion;
  • Referrals;
  • Assistance with written and in-person communications;
  • Explaining or clarifying University policies;
  • In some cases, engaging in mediation (when it is mutually agreed upon).

The Ombuds is only able to provide informal assistance, and is not authorized to accept notice of any claims against the University, or to change, revise or contest any University rule or policy, or to override any decisions of the University.

iv. Standards of Practice 

The Ombuds are structured and operate pursuant to the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics promulgated by the International Ombudsman Association (IOA). As set forth more fully in the IOA Standards and Code, the Ombuds operate according to the following four core principles:

The Ombuds will treat all communications as confidential unless a visitor presents a threat to themselves or others;

The Ombuds functions independently and outside of University administration;

Impartiality and Neutrality
The Ombuds staff are neutral and impartial;

The Ombuds is only authorized to provide informal assistance and cannot participate in any internal or external formal proceedings on behalf of employees, students, or the University.