The Ombudsman will listen to your problems as a neutral party
Nestled quietly beneath a staircase in the Student Center across from the bookstore is a small office, the contents of which are likely unknown to many students. This mysterious office is home to Judicial Affairs and Dispute Resolution services.
Among the services offered by ombuds, a word that may be as unfamiliar to students as the office itself. Traditionally, organizations such as governments, schools and companies employ an ombudsperson who is familiar with the specific organization and is able to effectively address and, if necessary, investigate complaints or grievances.
The school website’s description classifies the ombudsperson as, “One who is familiar with campus policies, student’s rights and responsibilities and can help find useful options within these guidelines. In order to serve as a mediator, as opposed to an advocate, the ombudsperson neutrally and objectively listens to all problems.”
The ombuds office also heavily emphasizes the confidentiality of each visit and will not disclose any part of conversations without permission. No records are kept regarding complaints.
Typical troubles that merit ombuds assistance include academic complaints and conflicts, housing and landlord disagreements, discrimination and sexual harassment, as well as other problems and disputes dealing with school policies and procedures. Ombuds services are free of charge for students.
The ombuds position is also a student position, so it is an opportunity to receive conflict coaching from a peer. For students who may be interested, the position is currently vacant. A degree is not required, but a base knowledge of the institution, as well as an understanding of communication techniques, is important.
The Judicial Affairs and Dispute Resolution office is located at SC 107 and is openfrom 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.