What Can I Expect in a Meeting with the Ombudsperson?

The Ombuds Office is located on the main floor of Valentine Hall, Room 117 and office hours are on Tuesday mornings and on Wednesdays, or by appointment.  While walk-in visitors are welcome, arranging a time to meet will insure the ombudsperson is available, and will allow you to pick a day and time that works best for your schedule.

What happens if I e-mail or leave a voice message?

The Ombuds Office strives to maintain confidentiality with all visitors.  Because e-mail is not a totally confidential form of communication, we encourage visitors to use e-mail primarily as a scheduling tool rather than a means to discuss issues or concerns; the office will respond to e-mails or voice messages with a request to schedule a time to speak in person or by phone.  All e-mails and voice messages are deleted routinely.

What happens when I come to the office or talk with you on the phone?

Face-to-face conversations are almost always the most effective and the Ombuds Office offers a private place to meet on campus.  Where needed, we will offer options for meeting off-campus as well.  At your first meeting, the ombudsperson will explain his/her role, and let you know what you can expect from the Office.  Then, he/she will listen to your concerns with a neutral and open mind, in order to help you clarify your thoughts, feeling and goals. 

What will happen next?

The ombudsperson will assist you in developing options for you to address your issues.  Sometimes this might involve additional meetings.  Together, you can discuss whether any further action by the ombudsperson would make sense --- these could include making confidential and informal inquires about your concerns and identifying resources where answers can be found.  Where appropriate, the ombudsperson might also offer other helpful services including facilitated conversations, informal mediations, coaching services and group facilitations.

Are there things the Ombudsperson will NOT do with regard to my concern?

The power of the Office of the Ombudsperson rests in our ability to listen and inform; there are some things the Ombuds Office will not do:

  • The Ombudsperson will Not Conduct Formal Investigations.
  • The Ombudsperson will Not Make Policy.
  • The Ombudsperson will Not Adjudicate, Arbitrate or Participate in Internal or External Formal Process (including legal process).
  • The Ombudsperson will Not Breach Confidentiality even with consent.  There are only very narrow exceptions to this which may include information about sexual respect and Title IX matters. Title IX policies and precedures are readily available on the College website.
  • The Ombudsperson will Not Provide Legal Advice.