How do I ask for help from the Ombuds?
Keeping in mind that the Ombuds seeks to maintain confidentiality when working with students, the best way to contact the Ombuds is by phone. Students may email the Ombuds but should remember that emails are not necessarily a confidential means of communication. Care should be taken in terms of what information is provided in an email. Drop-in appointments are welcomed if scheduling permits.
The Ombuds will meet with each student at least one and often several times. He listens with an open mind to help clarify the situation or issues. He works with students to develop options for resolution and to help the student understand the pros and cons of each option. Students can be coached on how to communicate their concerns effectively when speaking with those with whom they are attempting to obtain resolution.
The Ombuds can facilitate discussion between the student and other participants if given the express permission to do so by the student. One outcome could be for the student to engage in a formal process such as a grade or academic misconduct appeal. In this instance, the Ombuds will provide information on how the process works and will direct the student to the person with whom they can initiate the process. However, the Ombuds cannot conduct formal investigations, make decisions for the University, or participate in any formal process.
The Ombuds will produce reports on a regular basis. These reports contain demographic data as well as a summary of the issues that students have reported, but no information that could lead to the identification of any student who has consulted with the Ombuds. On occasion, when a number of students report experiencing the same concerns, the Ombuds will inform the unit affected in order for that unit to further assess the issue and take action as appropriate. Again, this is done in a way that individuals reporting these concerns cannot be identified.