Principles

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

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is the bedrock of the work of the Ombuds and helps create a safe place for visitors to share concerns and identify options. Visitors can expect communications with the Ombuds Office to be kept private and confidential. The Ombuds will only share information when explicit permission is provided by the visitor. Any informal notes taken by the Ombudsperson are shredded following the conclusion of a case. The only exceptions to confidentiality include imminent threat of serious harm to the visitor or others and any concerns discussed that are subject to Title IX reporting. General data related to utilization of the Ombuds Office may be collected, but such information is maintained and reported in a manner that does not identify individual visitors.

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.

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.