Standards of Practice
The Ombuds Office adheres to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the International Ombudsman Association and practices according to the following standards.
Confidential. Contacts, conversations, and information exchanged with an ombuds will not be disclosed without the consent of the parties involved and the consent of the ombuds. In adherence with IOA Standards of Practice, the Ombuds Office asserts that confidentiality is the privilege of the Ombuds and cannot be waived by any party. An Ombuds will not serve as a witness nor offer testimony in any formal proceeding, unless required by law.
Specific permission to disclose identifying information in support of problem solving or dispute resolution efforts will be gained prior to making such communications. No personal identifying information is retained as a record or used for subsequent formal proceedings. There are limits to confidentiality, such as when disclosure is necessary to protect someone from imminent harm and when otherwise required by law.
Consultations with an Ombuds do not constitute formal notice to the university. On request, an Ombuds will provide information on who to contact and how to use administrative or grievance procedures for anyone wanting to establish a formal record or seeking formal consideration of their complaint.
Impartial. As a designated problem solving neutral, the ombuds does not take sides in an issue or dispute, but considers the facts and the interests, rights and safety of all parties in achieving a fair and equitable solution to a problem. An Ombuds is neither an advocate on behalf of any individual, group or cause nor a final judge in a situation.
Informal. Use of ombuds services is voluntary, and meeting with an ombuds is not required before pursuing formal processes or procedures. The ombuds does not make or reverse final decisions, nor serves as a formal part of any grievance or compliance process. Individuals using ombuds services retain their rights to all formal procedures ordinarily available to them.
Independent. An ombuds works independently of university management structures. To ensure objectivity, an Ombuds is empowered to conduct informal fact-finding, facilitate conversations, and mediate resolutions to problems. Services provided through the Ombuds Office supplement other university resources and existing policies and procedures. As such, an Ombuds may provide referrals to other offices or work directly with those involved to help visitors. An Ombuds may also bring concerns forward independently.