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What an Ombuds Does


Meet Your Campus Troubleshooter - The Chronicle of Higher Education article

What an Ombuds Does

Responses are tailored to the individual’s situation and informed consent, so an Ombuds (gender-neutral Swedish term) may: 

• Listen to your concerns and questions 
• Offer information about Stony Brook University policies and procedures 
• Discuss your concerns and clarify all the issues 
• Help identify and evaluate a range of options for resolving a problem 
• Gather information and offer referrals to other resources
• Empower individuals to work through conflict or challenging situations
• Offer coaching, for example, to help you prepare for a difficult conversation 
• Facilitate communication, indirectly or through shuttle diplomacy 
• Work for collaborative agreements through informal mediation 
• Track perceived issues and trends 
• Make recommendations for institutional improvements
• Provide educational information and training on communication, conflict management and civility, etc.

Issues You Can Discuss with the Ombuds

• Academic issues 
• Interpersonal difficulties 
• Harassment or discrimination 
• Untangling a complicated situation 
• Violations of University policy or conduct codes
• Workplace disputes 
• Ethical dilemmas 
• Conflicts of interest 
• Disciplinary matters 
• Research misconduct 
• Incivility or rudeness 
• Health and safety concerns 
• Academic freedom 
• Protecting your reputation 
• Threats or retaliation 
• Policy and procedural concerns 
• Housing concerns

What an Ombuds Does Not Do

• Maintain records that identify you after we’ve completed our work together 
• Represent individuals in formal procedures 
• Conduct or participate in formal investigations or processes 
• Provide psychological counseling 
• Offer legal advice 
• Testify or gather evidence for formal administrative processes 
• Advocate for individuals, groups or departments
• Establish, change, or set aside policies 
• Serve as an office of record
• Make decisions or findings of fact