About the Office
The Boston University Office of the Ombuds is an independent, impartial, informal, and confidential resource available to all members of the Boston University community.Confidentiality is essential to Ombuds practice. The Office provides a safe place to have off-the-record conversations about any kind of problem related to life at BU. Talking to the Ombuds can be a good first step to resolving problems, especially if you are concerned about confidentiality or don’t know where to turn for assistance.
The Office is a purely voluntary resource. No one is required to use it, but those who do will be understood to have agreed to respect and abide by the principles on which it was created and not to call the Ombuds to testify with respect to confidential communications in formal or legal proceedings.
The Office is staffed by University Ombuds, Francine Montemurro who acts as BU’s designated third-party neutral, and practices in accordance with finclusthe International Ombudsman Association’s Code of Ethics and standards of practice.
Established in fall 2009 at the recommendation of the Council on Faculty Diversity and Inclusion, the office mission is to provide a confidential place for people to voice concerns, develop options, and problem-solve. The Ombuds also provides summary data to senior university officials on trends and patterns so that problems may be prevented from escalating or recurring without breaching the confidentiality of communications with individuals. Through its mission, the Office helps further the University’s strategic objectives within a culture that is ethical and civil, and in which differences can be resolved and mutual understanding created through respectful dialogue and fair process.
The Ombuds performs a variety of functions in carrying out her responsibilities. They include listening and providing a respectful, “safe,” and humanized place within the University for individuals to discuss problems; helping individuals clarify concerns and develop options; explaining University policies and procedures; providing referrals to other offices; coaching visitors on how to help themselves; looking into problems by gathering data and the perspectives of others; engaging in shuttle diplomacy; conducting structured mediation or facilitated conversations; and other measures consistent with the mission of the Office.
Individuals may meet with the Ombuds on either the Charles River Campus (Deerfield St, Suite 203) or the Medical Campus (Fuller Bldg, Suite 957E). In the course of their communication with the Ombuds, some visitors to the Office choose to give the Ombuds permission to take action that would reveal their identity, while others ask that no action be taken if there is a risk of disclosure. You may even contact the Ombuds anonymously. Thus, the ombuds will respect the visitor’s choice regarding disclosure, except when the Ombuds determines that there is an imminent risk of serious harm.
While the Ombuds may take a variety of steps towards addressing your concerns, the Office is empowered to provide informal assistance only. The Ombuds is not authorized to receive notice of claims agains Boston University and does not make decisions or determine policy for the University. Formal actions are the purview of other offices.