Boston University Office of the Ombuds Charter
The Office of the Ombuds provides assistance in resolving problems and conflicts. It is an independent, impartial, informal, and confidential resource available to all members of the Boston University community.
Chartered in fall 2009 at the recommendation of the Council on Faculty Diversity and Inclusion, the Office is staffed by one or more professional Ombuds who act as the University’s designated third-party neutral, and who practice in accordance to accepted professional standards.
The mission of the Office is to provide a confidential place for people to voice concerns, develop options, and problem-solve. The Ombuds also provides information to university officials on general trends and patterns of complaints so that problems may be prevented from escalating or recurring.
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 his/her duties and responsibilities. They include: listening and providing a respectful, “safe,” and “humanized” place within the University for individuals to discuss problems; helping individuals to 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 mediations or facilitating conversations; and other measures consistent with the mission of the Office.
After meeting with the Ombuds, some visitors may give permission to take an action that would reveal their identity. Others, however, may request that the Ombuds not disclose information or take any action that might risk having their identity revealed. Except in very limited circumstances, the ombuds will disclose identifiable information or concerns raised only with the permission of the visitor to the office.
The Ombuds may take any number of steps towards responsibly addressing concerns raised. However, the Office is empowered to provide informal assistance only. Formal actions are the purview of other officers.
To learn more about our Principles of Practice click the link below.