Several years ago one of our departments implemented an ombuds system to provide help in addressing sensitive departmental issues. This system has proven to be very successful and brought the need for a familiar departmental contact to help address issues to college-wide attention; it is for this reason that the ECoS Climate and Diversity Committee has proposed that an ombuds system be adopted across all departments.
Two ombudsmen have been appointed in each department, one male and one female. These people have proven to be approachable and trustworthy. The head of ECoS human resources has conducted a training session to review basic guidelines.
The function of the ombudsmen is to provide a safe and informal environment for individuals to discuss problems and issues outside of formal channels. Any issue may be brought to the attention of the ombudsmen. The ombudsman can help develop strategies, clarify interests and goals, and identify other resources at the university that may be available to assist in certain situations. It is also important to note that speaking to the ombudsman does not constitute notice to the university. The ombudsmen, does not have the power to change rules or polices; and will not disclose any information provided in confidence (the only exception to this rule being a potential risk to safety or if a crime was committed).
This position will serve as a complement to the HR office to provide an environment that encourages the use of multiple options to resolve issues and increase communication. The ombudsmen can serve as a first contact in the resolution of intradepartmental issues, and can help identify common and reoccurring issues that could be addressed college-wide. If at any time you feel that you cannot go to the ombudsmen feel free to contact the HR office with any and all issues that you have.