Frequently Asked Questions:

I'm a student, staff or faculty member, and I have a disagreement or dispute within the university.  Who can help me?:

You can turn to the University Ombuds Office. The role of the Ombuds Office is to ensure that staff, students and faculty receive fair, equitable and just treatment within the university system. An Ombuds considers all sides in an impartial and objective way in order to resolve problems and concerns raised by members of the university community. The name of the person requesting help can only be used in the investigation of the matter with the visitor's permission. Contact and communication with the office are also confidential. The Ombuds Office does not keep records on behalf of the university.

I'm a student, what type of issues would I talk to the Ombuds about?

Course and instructor issues; dispute with a university unit/staff person; referrals; policy consultation, i.e., grade appeal, academic misconduct, course repeat.

I'm a faculty member, what type of issues would I talk to the Ombuds about?

university policy consultation, work/department issues; consult regarding a student situation
work issues; university policy consultation; referrals.

I'm a staff member, what type of issues would I talk tot he Ombuds about?

work issues; university policy consultation; referrals.

I have reasons for not wanting to go through my supervisors, would the Ombuds be able to help me?

If you have a reason for not wanting to go through official channels, a talk with an Ombuds may help to identify alternative courses of action. For many problems, a normal procedure or route of appeal is set out in university policies and procedures. Academic advisors, department chairpersons, deans and directors are all, by virtue of their office, experts at handling specific types of problems, and should normally be consulted first. If you don't know whether there is a procedure that fits your situation, contact the Ombuds Office.

What does the term "Ombuds" mean?

The original word "ombudsman" has Scandinavian origins, and was first used as a public office in Sweden. According to one scholar, the term refers to "a person who has an ear to the people." The Ombuds office is neutral, independent and confidential department that considers all sides in an impartial and objective way in order to resolve problems and concern raised by members of the university community.

What other types of issues would you see the Ombuds about?

Other examples: harassment and discrimination consultation; stalking consult; bullying in the workplace consult."

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