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Frequently Asked Questions

The Ombudsman:

  • Provides a safe place for discussion and reflection
    • Listens to concerns
    • Assists in clarifying issues 
    • Uncovers and questions assumptions
    • Suggests alternative perspectives
    • Brainstorms and explores options
  • Provides group workshops and individual coaching in:
    • Skillful communication
    • Conflict resolution
  • Provides information about the University
    • Answers questions 
    • Explains University policies and procedures
    • Provides information about campus resources
    • Suggests referrals, if appropriate or wanted
  • Provides informal conflict resolution
    • Facilitates interpersonal communication
    • Finds common ground
    • Assists in reaching mutually acceptable and fair agreements
  • Acts as an agent for organizational change
    • Tracks trends and general issues on campus
    • Collaborates with others to improve campus life and strengthen community 

 

Through an independent University office, the Ombuds provides confidential and impartial conversation, problem-solving, and referral, in a safe, informal environment for any staff, faculty, and administrator. Using the services of the Ombuds Office is strictly voluntary. Our approach is tailored to the specific needs of the visitor and is governed by the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the International Ombuds Association.

We provide a safe place for discussion and reflection by:

  • Listening and discussing your concerns and questions
  • Acting as an impartial party to resolve conflicts
  • Assist with identifying and evaluating options to resolve an issue
  • Helping visitors develop new ways to solve problems on their own
  • Providing conflict resolution coaching
  • Referring visitors to appropriate campus or community individuals, offices, or resources
  • Clarifying University policies and procedures
  • Promoting fair and equitable processes and resolutions
  • Providing upward feedback (while maintaining confidentiality) regarding problematic trends and systematic issues
  • Maintaining confidentiality (except in the case where there is a risk of harm to self or others and to the extent required by Title IX)
  • Ensuring that Ombuds does not make binding decisions
  • Keeping Ombuds services voluntary to visitors

Ombuds Services does not:

  • Investigate formally
  • Advocate on any party's behalf
  • Report visitor information to anyone
  • Keep records other than statistical data on visitors and trends
  • Judge the merit of a complaint
  • Suggest disciplinary actions
  • Participate in formal grievances or formal processes
  • Provide legal advice
  • Provide psychological counseling
  • Make binding decisions for individuals or the University
  • Override or change policy, decisions, or rules
  • Accept "notice" of claims against the University

Confidentiality

  • All communications with Ombuds are held in strict confidence with the exception of situations that involve imminent risk of serious harm or discrimination, harassment, or retaliation based on gender or sexual orientation. 
  • Ombuds do not reveal any aspect of a visitor's conversation with any other party, nor does an Ombuds take specific action related to a visitor's issue without the visitor's expressed permission.
  • No records are kept, other than the statistics and trend data; Any data or trend information provided to the University will adhere to confidentiality standards; visitors remain anonymous and specific information that may identify the involved parties is removed.
  • Information notes taken by Ombuds are kept in a locked cabinet and subsequently destroyed once the visitor no longer is using Ombuds services or within 2 weeks of the visit. 
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