Principles

The Ombuds adheres to the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, as follows:

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is the bedrock of the ombuds function and helps create a safe place for visitors to share concerns and identify and assess options. Information concerning any contact or visit with the ombuds will not be disclosed without your permission, absent compelling reasons (a serious risk to personal safety, or a court order). The ombuds may make notes about your visit but these are kept under lock and key and are destroyed when a matter is closed or within two weeks of the last contact. The only data that are kept in the office are de-identified statistics about the type of visitor (faculty or staff), the type of concern, and what action was taken. These data are stored electronically and are only accessed by the ombuds. None of the data is linked to individual names or identifying information.

Impartiality

The ombuds is a designated neutral. She does not take sides in a dispute, but advocates for fair processes, considering the rights and interests of all individuals affected by the matter under consideration. The office provides a neutral and objective resource for the university community.

The ombuds has no decision-making authority and does not judge, discipline, or reward anyone.

Informality

The ombuds serves as an informal resource and does not participate in formal adjudicative or administrative procedures. Use of the ombuds office is therefore not a substitute for formal processes, such as filing a grievance. Communication with the ombuds is off the record and does not put the university on notice about any problem. If you wish to follow a formal process, the ombuds can give you information about how to do so.

Independence

The ombuds functions independently and outside of existing administrative structures but for administrative and budgetary purposes reports directly to the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. She is not part of management and cannot compel anyone else to take any particular course of action. She provides the Senior Vice Provost with summaries of the activity of the office without disclosing identifying information.

The ombuds exercises her discretion about whether, when, and how to act regarding a concern, consistent with the principles described above. The ombuds may informally look into concerns identified through direct observation, identify systemic issues or problems, and advise institutional leaders on approaches for addressing them. She has a responsibility to bring to light problems or processes that seem unfair, unjust, or in other respects inconsistent with the well-being of the campus community.