Locations

Moscow

info@uidaho.edu
Phone: 208-885-6111
Toll-free: 88-88-UIDAHO
Fax: 208-885-9119
Student Union Building
875 Perimeter Drive MS 4264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264

Boise

Phone: 208-334-2999
Fax: 208-364-4035
322 E. Front Street
Boise, ID 83702

boise@uidaho.edu
www.uidaho.edu/boise

Coeur d'Alene

Phone: 208-667-2588
Toll-free: 888-208-2268
Fax: 208-664-1272
1031 N. Academic Way,
Suite 242
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

cdactr@uidaho.edu
www.uidaho.edu/cda

Idaho Falls

Phone: 208-282-7900
Fax: 208-282-7929
1776 Science Center Drive, Suite 306
Idaho Falls, ID 83402

ui-if@if.uidaho.edu
www.uidaho.edu/idahofalls

Students speaking with teacher in hallway.

FAQs

  • What is an ombuds?
    An ombuds (pronounced "om-budz") is an impartial and independent party who is trained and skilled in interpersonal communication, problem solving, conflict management and dispute resolution. The ombuds provides confidential assistance to help individuals address concerns and fairly resolve problems.

    At University of Idaho, the ombuds assists all members of the university community to resolve problems related to their university working, learning or living experience by helping them clarify issues, communicate effectively, access and understand relevant information, identify alternative solutions and work collaboratively to achieve a fair resolution.
  • When should I contact an ombuds?
    You may speak with an ombuds at any time regarding any university-related concern. Exploring a problem--or a potential problem--with an impartial party before the situation escalates into a full-blown conflict can help you respond to your situation more effectively.

    When you meet with an ombuds, the ombuds will listen to you and help you with clarifying your issues and identifying your interests as well as exploring your options. This process alone often makes it possible for people to resolve their many of their own problems.
  • What issues can be brought to an ombuds?

    You may contact the Ombuds Office regarding any university-related issue; however, some issues have defined procedures or other designated offices established to address them. The ombuds will let you know if he/she is able to assist you with your concern and will refer you to a more appropriate office, if necessary. Some common concerns involve: 

       

     

    Employees Students
    Performance expectations, position descriptions
    Interpersonal conflicts with faculty, advisors/major professors or peers
    Interpersonal or personality conflicts
    Graduate committee function
    Course assignments
    TA/RA assignments
    Promotion/tenure
    Groups/team functioning
    Working conditions Workstudy assignments/relationships
    Wages/salary Housing issues
    Benefits Exam procedures
    Scheduling Respect/trust
    Health/safety Ethical concerns
    Cooperation/teamwork  
    Respect/trust/fairness  
    Management/Leadership  
    Ethical concerns  


  • What does an ombuds do?
    • Listens. An ombuds actively seeks to understand your concerns, as you experience them.
    • Helps you analyze
    •  the problem. An ombuds will assist you in identifying and clarifying your issues and interest.
    • Provides relevant information. An ombuds is an information resource and will assist you in finding answers to your questions.
    • Explains university policies and procedures. An ombuds will help you to access and understand policies and procedures related to your concern.
    • Facilitates dialogue. An ombuds can help you, your co-workers, supervisors, and entire units and departments to communicate more effectively and work collaboratively.
    • Helps define options. An ombuds helps parties identify new options and solutions that address their interests.
    • Mediates disputes. An ombuds serves as a neutral party and mediator for those parties desiring to resolve a conflict through the mediation process.
    • Recommends change. An ombuds makes recommendations for changes in university policy or procedures, when warranted, to ensure clarity, fairness and justice.
  • How can I contact an ombuds if I work at a branch campus, UI center or research station?
    You may call the Ombuds Office or contact the ombuds by phone or email directly (see Contact Us). While many concerns can be addressed by telephone, if necessary, an ombuds will arrange to meet with you at your work location.  The ombuds is available by Skype videocall at: uiombuds.  This free video service is often very helpful and allows you to discuss issues face to face with an ombuds.
  • Will the ombuds be my advocate in dealing with an issue?
    No, an ombuds does not serve as an advocate for any party.  Rather, the ombuds helps facilitate communication between parties.  The ombuds will inform parties about additional campus resources. 
  • Can an ombuds give me legal advice?
    No. The ombuds is not a legal expert. An ombuds will assist you with exploring your concerns, identifying, accessing and clarifying relevant university policies and procedures, and generating solutions options. If you have legal questions or need a legal opinion, you should consult with your attorney. It is important to let the Ombuds know if you are working with an attorney.

  • Can I use the Ombuds Office to document my concern or place an issue on the record?
    No. the Ombuds Office is a confidential and informal office. Speaking with an ombuds or sending communication to an ombuds does not constitute notice to the university. The ombuds does not create or retain records or identifiable documents. Working notes, if used, are destroyed when they are no longer necessary to assist with problem resolution. The ombuds will not provide testimony in any formal process, unless otherwise ordered by a court of law.
  • What does confidential mean?
    Confidential means that your contact with the Ombuds Office or an ombuds, and the content of your conversations, will not be disclosed to any other party without your consent and the consent of the ombuds. We assert that confidentiality is the privilege of the ombuds and cannot be waived by any party without the consent of the ombuds.

    There are limits to confidentiality. Confidentiality may not be maintained in the event that an ombuds is told about the intent of an individual to harm him/herself or another person, and as otherwise required by law.

    Please note:  Electronic mail should not be used to communicate confidential or sensitive information.
  • What does impartial mean?
    Impartial means that the ombuds does not favor any side, position, or person in a misunderstanding or dispute. An ombuds does not act, advise, represent or advocate on behalf of any party. An ombuds is an advocate of justice and seeks fairness while working within existing policies and procedures. If an ombuds feels that he/she cannot be impartial or may not be perceived as impartial in any situation, the ombuds will inform the parties to a concern and may recuse him or herself from further participation.
  • What does informal mean?

    Informal means that your concerns will be addressed "off the record" and not through official channels or procedures. This allows you to freely explore your concerns and consider options privately. It supports the practice of collaborative problem solving.

    For many problems, the informal approach of working with an ombuds is highly effective and leads to satisfying outcomes. However, should you decide your concern warrants a different approach, all formal procedures ordinarily available to you remain available.

    Note:  Contacting an ombuds or the Ombuds Office does not constitute notice to the university. Time requirements for filing formal complaints remain in effect.