What if I want a situation put “on the record”?

The Office of the Ombudsperson cannot keep a formal record of a problem or complaint, because of confidentiality and informality requirements. In addition, the Office of the Ombudsperson is not an office "of record," and speaking to an ombudsperson does not constitute legal notice to the College that a problem exists. The Ombudsperson does not keep files on visitors and does not perform formal investigations or participate in formal procedures. If a matter becomes the subject of a formal grievance or legal action, an Ombudsperson will not testify or participate in any way. However, the Ombudsperson can help you identify offices that will keep a formal record of a situation

Can I still file an appeal if I go to the Ombuds Office but my issue is not resolved? 

Your appeal rights do not change if you first try informal resolution through the Ombuds Office. But remember: formal grievance and appeal processes all have filing deadlines you must meet for your grievance or appeal to proceed. On rare occasions, a filing deadline might be extended if a party is working towards resolution through the Ombuds Office, but only Human Resource Services may grant such an extension. Therefore you should take advantage of the Ombuds Office services well before your appeal filing deadline arrives. This will enable you to try informal resolution, but still allow you to file a timely appeal if you decide you want to do that. 

Can the Ombudsperson give me legal advice?

The Ombuds office cannot provide legal advice. The ombudsperson will assist in identifying College procedures or policies and can help you evaluate options. 

I’ve got a situation that I think somebody at the College needs to know about. Can I rely on the Ombuds Office to handle it without my getting involved?

You are welcome to discuss any type of concern with the Ombuds Office, and the Ombuds will help you identify your options. But keep in mind that the Ombuds Office does not conduct investigations or issue decisions. The discussions that take place in the Ombuds Office remain confidential, so telling the Ombuds Officer about a situation does not put the College on notice. But the Ombuds Office can help you figure out how to accomplish your desired outcome. 

I want to use the Ombuds Office to resolve a conflict with my colleague, but my colleague doesn’t want to participate. What do I do now? 

It would still be helpful for you to visit the Ombuds Office, because you might learn some strategies you could use to deal with the conflict. Even though your colleague doesn’t want to work on resolution right now, there are often other things you can do so that your situation is more comfortable. Frequently just talking about a difficult situation can relieve some of the stress you may be feeling. 

Will the Ombudsperson be my spokesperson and represent me?

No. The ombudspersons are neutral, impartial third parties. They do not advocate for either side and do not represent individuals. They strive for fairness and help people reach mutually satisfactory agreements.