What is an Ombudsperson?
The profession originated in Sweden in 1809, where the first ombudsman was an independent and neutral public official who confidentially heard citizens' complaints about governmental agencies. Today, organizational ombuds are conflict management specialits who facilite resolution impartially and without bias and who have no personal interest in the outcome of the dispute. In addition, ombuds offer generic upward feedback and recommendations for systemic change to senior management.
What Does an Ombudsperson Do?
An Ombudsperson handles complaints (hears and informally addresses problems, concerns and complaints, opens channels of communication, serves as a neutral third party in conflict resolution, and seeks fair and equitable solutions to problems); provides information (maintains resource files on campus policies, procedures, services, and programs, makes referrals to other campus resources); and serves as consultant (suggests approaches for addressing and managing conflicts, collaborates with other campus agencies in issues of general concern, interprets campus policies, and offers recommendations for policy or procedure changes).
What Doesn't an Ombudsperson Do?
The services provided by the Ombudsperson do not compromise or replace policies or procedures established under collective bargaining agreements. In addition, the Ombudsperson does not provide legal advice or psychological counseling; does not render judgments or make decisions on the issues brought to the office; and does not represent community members or participate in any formal hearings, processes or procedures.
What Are the Ombudsperson's Qualifications?
The Ombudsperson is a member of the International Ombudsman Association and conforms to its Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. The Ombudsperson has completed organizational ombuds training programs with the University and College Ombuds Association and The Ombudsman Association, and continues to take training courses in the area of dispute resolution and ombudsry. The Ombudsperson is also a certificated and experienced mediator.
What Happens When You Go to the Ombuds Office?
The Ombudsperson will: provide a comfortable, confidential environment to air your problems, concerns or complaints; listen to your problem, concern or complaint; develop a list of options for resolving your problem, concern or complaint; provide answers to questions you have regarding a policy or procedure; and work with you to develop a strategy for resolving your problems, concerns or complaints.
What Happens to Information Provided to the Ombuds Office?
As a matter of policy, the Ombudsperson destroys all information regarding a particular matter when that matter is resolved or within one month of no activity. The Ombudsperson does not retain any information that would identify the individuals involved in a conflict, dispute or complaint.
Is the Ombuds Office a Place to Make a Report?
No. Discussions with the Ombudsperson are off-the-record and do not constitute formal notice to the University. The Ombudsperson cannot accept notice for the CGU or initiate a formal process. If you have a complaint and want to pursue a formal remedy, the Ombudsperson can refer you to the appropriate University office.
How is the Ombuds Office Able to Help Me?
The Ombudsperson helps resolve problems, concerns and complaints informally through counseling, mediation, and negotiation. The Ombudsperson has the ability to: mediate and/or negotiate settlements in disputes; make recommendations for change in a policy or practice; bring issues to the attention of those with authority to address your concerns; and meet with department heads, deans, vice chancellors, and other administrators.
How Does the Ombudsperson Remain Neutral?
The Ombudsperson considers the rights and interests of all parties in a dispute, with the aim of assuring a fair and civil process to resolve the issue. The Ombudsperson is not part of any school or administrative department. Moreover, the Ombudsperson does not arbitrate or adjudicate , and has no decision-making power.
Will the Ombudsperson Participate in Formal Meetings?
No. The Ombudsperson cannot serve as a witness and does not participate in any formal grievance process. The Ombudsperson will not testify in formal judicial or administrative hearings. However, the Ombudsperson can facilitate informal discussions with the consent of the other participants. If Ombudsperson is asked to serve on committees, he will do so in an advisory or ex officio capacity only.
What Concerns Are Brought by Student Visitors?
Students are welcome to discuss grade disputes; student/faculty misunderstandings; thesis and dissertation concerns; housing problems; disciplinary matters; disability issues; harassment; discrimination; interpersonal issues; roommate conflicts; and other concerns related to the mision of the university.
What Concerns Are Brought by Faculty Visitors?
Faculty members may seek assistance with appointments and hiring; research/ownership of data; academic dishonesty; conflict with students; course assignments; departmental politics; conflict with colleagues; disability issues; Faculty Code of Conduct matters; harassment; discrimination; promotion and compensation; and other concerns.
What if My Concern is Not Listed Here?
Visitors are encouraged to contact the Ombuds Office concerning any matter regarding CGU and its policies or procedures.