About the Ombuds Program
What is the Ombuds Program?The University of Georgia Ombudspersons are designated individuals who serve as independent, neutral, and informal resources for UGA students, faculty, and staff. These individuals provide information and assistance regarding administrative processes and may serve as additional avenues for resolving the concerns of students, faculty, and staff. See an ombudsperson if you have a problem, concern or issue at work, you don’t know where to go for help, you are reluctant to go through formal channels for assistance, or you need a safe place to explore your options.
What does an Ombudsperson do?
- Informs members of the University community of existing University resources and procedures for addressing particular concerns presented.
- Facilitates the expeditious resolution of concerns through the recommendation of informal resolution options.
- Impartially listen to concerns without judgment.
- Provides upward feedback on general conflict trends.
Keeps the concerned parties informed of the progress of any informal measures that the Ombudsperson takes in endeavoring to resolve the issue presented.
- Promotes and adheres to the values of fairness, equity, justice and mutual respect
at all times.
What Does an ombudsperson not do?
- Accept notice on behalf of the University
- Participate in formal processes
- Receive official reports or complaints
- Advocate for either side of a dispute
- Compel participation
- Conduct investigations
- Draw conclusions
- Make decisions or file complaints
- Provide legal advice
- Offer pyschological counseling
- Establish or enforce policies
- Keep formal written records. The Ombudsman may help you determine how to keep your own records.
Can the Ombudsperson take action to address my issues?
No. Ombudspersons supplement, but do not replace, the University’s existing policies and
procedures for processing and resolving student, faculty, and staff complaints and
grievances. Ombudspersons also do not have direct responsibility for specific administrative
processes and procedures.
Why Visit Us?
There are many reasons to visit with an ombudsperson. Visitors can have a confidential conversation regarding a matter with us because we have an impartial perspective, or they can receive help thinking through a peaceful approach for dealing directly with an issue. Visitors sometimes can be unsure about taking a matter through other university channels because of a fear of retaliation, reporting structure or other concerns.
Are Reports Confidential?
All communications related to an allegation, concern or other issue reported to Ombudspersons
will be kept confidential to the extent legally permissible and consistent with maintaining
the safety and public welfare of the campus. Unless the factual circumstances indicate
a threat to the future safety of an individual or the University community, the Ombudsperson
is required to report the name of, or otherwise identify, sexual assault victims/survivors
where confidentiality is requested.
The Student, Faculty, and Staff Ombudspersons will provide information annually to the Equal Opportunity Office (EOO) for an annual report, due September 1, to be submitted by EOO to the President, the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost and the Chair of the Executive Committee of the University Council. The report will discuss trends or patterns in the reporting of issues and concerns by students, faculty and staff and will make recommendations for changes or improvements to existing policies and procedures.