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Operating Principles

by UofL Ombuds Office last modified Dec 12, 2012 11:31 AM

Confidential

Visitors' identities and the contents of their conversations will remain private. Only with permission would ombudspersons contact other University members to help resolve a dispute. The only exceptions to confidentiality are disclosures of imminent harm to self or others.

Neutral

The Ombuds Office avoid situations in which there may be conflicts of interest. Thus, they maintain no personal stake in the outcome of any dispute. The Ombuds Office promotes fair process but does not advocate for individuals.

Informal

The Ombuds Office assists individuals in understanding and evaluating options for managing and resolving conflicts. It has no decision-making authority and maintains no records (other than statistical data). Ombuds Office staff do not participate in formal hearings.

Independent

The Ombuds Office exercise autonomy regarding their responsibilities. The Ombuds Office reports to the Provost for administrative purposes only.

University of Louisville Ombuds Office

The Ombuds Office at the University of Louisville are designated as neutral, independent, informal complaint-handlers. The Ombuds are charged to take into account the rights and interests of every person who is known to be involved in any given case or concern, and also the welfare of the University.

The University of Louisville Ombuds Office is completely confidential. (Ombuds may talk with each other-unless a visitor explicitly asks that they not speak with an ombuds colleague.) Ombuds do not answer questions about people whom they may or may not have seen in the office, except in informal complaint-handling when they have been given permission to do so by the visitor requesting help. They will take action only with the permission of a visitor-except for the unusual situation of imminent risk of serious harm, where there appears to be no other responsible option except to act without permission.

An ombuds can listen to people, offer information about University policies and procedures, and help to work for orderly and responsible systems change. The office welcomes all faculty, staff and graduate assistants. (Students should consult the Office of the Student Advocate 852-8113 or advocate@louisville.edu) The Ombuds Office welcomes any kind of University of Louisville-related concern or problem.

The Ombuds Office is a resource for University of Louisville faculty, staff and graduate assistants who want to examine their options for dealing with a particular concern or who may wish to consider learning how to deal with problems directly on their own. Ombuds may serve as shuttle diplomats or assist in the resolution of disputes. They have no power to make, change or set aside administrative decisions or University of Louisville policy.

The Ombuds Office keeps no formal written records. Staff in the Ombuds Office do not "accept" notice of problems for the University and talking with an ombuds does not constitute notice to University of Louisville. The Ombuds Office may refer faculty, staff and graduate assistants to offices that can receive notice for University of Louisville and respond on behalf of the University.

The Ombuds Office does not adjudicate or arbitrate and does not do formal investigations. They do not accompany disputants in formal hearings, nor do they serve as witnesses in formal grievance processes either in-house or externally. As a matter of general policy, the University does not call any ombudsperson on the university's behalf in proceedings inside or outside of the university and will seek to protect its ombudspersons from subpoena by others.

 

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