The practice of ombudsing started with 19th century Scandinavian public officials
who were appointed to investigate citizen complaints against governmental agencies.
Today, organizational ombuds are often referred to as "designated neutrals." As such,
they do not advocate for any individual or cause, but for fairness and equity. The
University Ombuds is a gender-neutral term.
Ombuds provide confidential, informal assistance to individuals and groups, and help
identify problems and facilitate the fair resolution of problems that arise in their
organizations. They serve as an information and communication resource, upward feedback
channel, dispute resolution practitioner, and change agent.
Ombuds encourage the airing and resolution of both individual and systematic problems.
They help ensure fairness in process so that any kind of problem can receive a fair
and impartial review.
The Ombuds is a source of confidential advice, information about University policies
and procedures, and, where appropriate, mediation and conflict management.
The Ombuds empowers individuals and groups to resolve problems and conflicts and develop
positive strategies for change.
The Ombuds is authorized by the President of the University to informally investigate
and to make recommendations, but has no authority to make or reverse a decision or
Any member of the campus community including students, faculty, administrators, or
staff can contact the Office free of charge. This includes all East Campus (Stony
Brook Medicine, Health Sciences Center) individuals, Southampton and Manhattan campuses
and off-site offices. Stony Brook Medicine Patients will be referred to
The Ombuds Office does not replace other offices or functions at the University, but
rather works collaboratively with other individuals and offices of the University
as a particular problem or situation requires.
The Ombuds Office provides conflict resolution approaches to workplace issues and
related policies and practices. For assistance with personal issues such as stress,
health concerns, substance abuse, or family concerns that may be affecting job or
academic performance, employees can contact the
EAP Officeand students may contact the
The Ombuds has knowledge and experience about ways to work successfully within and
through Stony Brook’s complex structure. The Ombuds knows how to use this knowledge
and experience to help individuals solve problems.
Specifically the Ombuds can: • Explain University policies and procedure and help you use them. • Advise you of options and help you pursue them. • Refer you to the right person and arrange a meeting. • Follow up to make sure your concern is resolved. • Recommend changes to the University to correct problem areas.
Ombuds professionals are obligated to keep contacts and conversations confidential
unless given permission otherwise. In almost all cases, it is the decision of the
visitor whether the Ombuds will do anything other than listen. The essential value
of assistance is based on the visitor’s trust that s/he will be able to speak without
fear of disclosure or reprisal. The only exceptions to confidentiality occurs when
the Ombuds believes that disclosure is necessary to address an imminent risk of serious
harm and where required by Title IX and other state and federal laws .
No, this is not an "office of record" at the University. The Ombuds is a "designated
neutral" who functions independently of regular University administration and management.
If you wish to pursue formal channels, the Ombuds will be happy to refer you to the
appropriate University office(s).
Stony Brook University Ombuds Office137 Psychology B BuildingStony Brook, New York 11794