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Confidentiality

Information concerning any contact or visit with the ombuds will not be disclosed without your permission, absent compelling reasons (a serious risk to personal safety, or a court order). The ombuds may make notes about your visit but these are kept under lock and key and are destroyed when a matter is closed or within one month of the last contact. The only data that are kept in the office are de-identified statistics about the type of visitor (faculty or staff), the type of complaint, and what action was taken. These data are stored electronically and are only accessed by the ombuds. None of the data are linked to individual names or identifying information.

Impartiality

The ombuds is a designated neutral. She does not take sides in a dispute, but advocates for fair processes, considering the rights and interests of all individuals affected by the matter under consideration. The office provides a neutral and objective resource for the university community.

The ombuds has no decision-making authority and does not judge, discipline, or reward anyone.

Informality

Use of the ombuds office is not a substitute for formal procedures, such as filing a grievance. Communication with the ombuds is off-the-record and does not put the university on notice about any problem. If you wish to follow a formal process, the ombuds can give you information about how to do so.

Independence

The ombuds officially reports directly to the Provost but is independent of any administrative structure. She is not part of management and cannot compel anyone else to take any particular course of action. She provides the Provost with reports that summarize the activity of the office without disclosing identifying information.

The ombuds exercises her discretion about whether, when, and how to act regarding a concern, consistent with the principles described above. The ombuds may informally look into concerns identified through direct observation, identify systemic issues or problems, and advise the Provost on approaches for addressing them. She has a responsibility to bring to light problems or processes that seem unfair, unjust, or in other respects inconsistent with the well-being of the campus community.