Our Practice

People sitting on the grass

We adhere to the principles outlined in our Charter and follow the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the International Ombudsman Association (from The International Ombudsman Association Standards of Practice).

Confidential

Strict confidentiality is essential to the Ombudsman function and helps create a safe place for visitors to voice concerns, evaluate issues and identify options.  The Ombudsman does not disclose the identity of visitors to the office or the content of conversations unless, in the course of the confidential communications, permission has been given to do so.

The only exception to confidentiality is when the Ombudsman determines there is imminent risk of serious harm, or as required by legal process.

The majority of visitors choose to keep their visit confidential, and some visitors choose to remain anonymous.

Independent

The office functions independently and outside of existing departmental structure, but for administrative and budgetary purposes reports directly to the Executive Vice President and the Provost.     

Informal, Impartial, Off the Record

The Ombudsman does not conduct formal investigations or participate in formal actions.  The following are also outside the purview of the office: adjudicating cases; acting as an advocate or witness in any case inside or outside the university; keeping case records for the University; assessing wrongdoing or innocence; determining sanctions; and making, changing or setting aside any rule, policy or administrative decision.

The Ombudsman may assist in the informal resolution of concerns by providing a confidential forum where different options may be considered. Consistent with the International Ombudsman Association Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, conversations with the Ombudsman do not constitute notice to the University of any claims a visitor may have. If the visitor wishes to make a formal complaint, the Ombudsman can advise how that can be done.