Student Ombuds Responsibilities

The student ombuds is authorized by the university to help manage risks and assist students at all levels of the organization with navigating complex relationships, policies and work environments – while working to promote civility, fairness and justice for the communities they serve. The student ombuds is designated as a neutral person at the university who students can meet with privately to help facilitate the informal resolution of their concerns.

The primary duties of the student ombuds are (1) to work with individuals and groups in an organization to explore and assist them in determining options to help resolve conflicts, problematic issues or concerns, and (2) to bring systemic concerns to the attention of the organization for resolution. The student ombuds operates in a manner to preserve the privacy of those seeking services, maintains a neutral/impartial position with respect to the concerns raised, works at an informal level of the organizational system, and is independent of formal organizational structures.

Student ombuds DOES:

  • Listen impartially and provide unbiased feedback
  • Provide a confidential place to discuss complaints/consider options
  • Refer students to appropriate campus services and resources
  • Assist with problem-solving to minimize the escalation of conflict
  • Assist students in conflict to develop mutually acceptable outcomes
  • Encourage and empower students and to find their own solutions to problems and concerns
  • Coach students on how to have difficult conversations (non-defensive conversations)
  • Explain university policies/procedures
  • Observe any trends and share them with university administration
  • Recommend changes to policies and procedures based on trends

Student ombuds DOES NOT:

  • Advocate for individuals/take sides
  • Offer psychological counseling
  • Keep records identifying individuals who meet with the student ombuds
  • Serve as an office of notice for filing a Title IX Complaint
  • Provide legal advice
  • Share personally identifiable information without permission
  • Make decisions (or change any decisions made by others)
  • Keep confidential any imminent risk of serious harm or danger as required by law
  • Conduct formal investigations or write formal investigative reports
  • Change policies or academic and administrative decisions

Page last modified April 23, 2021