About Us

Campus Ombuds meets with a visitor.

Principles

We assist the UCSB community with the informal resolution of any University-related complaint or conflict. In doing so, we adhere to the standards of practice for ombuds as described by the International Ombudsman Association (IOA). These four standards are essential to the ombuds profession and guide our work:

Confidentiality

  • Holds all identities and communications with those seeking assistance in confidence
  • Only exception to this confidentiality is when the Office determines that an imminent risk of physical harm exists; this determination will be made at the sole discretion of the Office
  • Does not keep records
  • Is off the record and NOT an office of notice to the University

Impartiality

  • Does not advocate for any party or for the University in a dispute
  • Works to promote fair and equitable processes

Informality

  • Provides opportunities for informal dispute resolution
  • Does not participate in any formal processes, including lawsuits or grievances
  • Does not makes decisions, conduct investigations, or issue judgments
  • Not an office of notice to the University about the existence of a problem

Independence

  • Reports directly to the Executive Vice Chancellor for administrative and budgetary purposes only
  • Has the right to discontinue providing service and disassociate from a matter at any time

These principles are absolute and non-negotiable. The standards of practice cannot be breached even at the request of those seeking assistance.

Confidentiality: In-Depth

We are firmly committed to maintaining the confidentiality of those who use our services.

We will not confirm communicating with you or disclose any confidential information without your express permission. However, we may disclose confidential information if we determine there is an imminent risk of physical harm. This determination is made at the sole discretion of the Office.

Even if you give us permission, we will not participate in any internal or external formal process, including grievances or lawsuits. You cannot request confidentiality to be "waived" because the privilege of confidentiality belongs to the Office.

We do not keep records other than aggregate statistical summaries. Case notes are retained only until the matter is resolved as determined by the Office and then they are shredded.

Mission Statement

The Office of the Ombuds is a confidential, impartial, informal, and independent resource for conflict management that serves all members of the UCSB community, including faculty, staff, and students. The Office assists those who seek guidance with the resolution of academic or administrative issues and disputes that are not being adequately addressed through other University procedures. It is a safe, confidential, and impartial place to express concerns.

The Office advocates for fairness and works to ensure that all members of the University community receive equitable treatment. The Office serves the campus community by helping to resolve complaints, by providing information and referrals, and by making recommendations for constructive change when University policies or procedures generate conflicts or concerns. The Office adheres to professional standards of practice to create an environment where members of the UCSB community can obtain information, review options, and resolve problems. The Office is also committed to facilitating campus-wide conflict management with an emphasis on conflict prevention.

Who We Serve

All members of the UCSB community, including:

  • Undergraduate students
  • Graduate students
  • Post-doctoral scholars and researchers
  • Staff members, including supervisors, managers, and administrators
  • Faculty members, lecturers, and other academic appointees
  • Parents of UCSB students
  • Members of the public with a University-related concern

We are here to help with the informal resolution of any University-related complaint or conflict.