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Office of the Ombuds
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What does "ombuds" mean?

"Ombuds" is a Swedish word referring to an official designated to informally resolve complaints.

How confidential is the Office of the Ombuds?

The ombuds hold all identities and communications in confidence. The ombuds may reveal specific issues to specific persons only with your express permission. Notes are shredded on a frequent basis. The Office of the Ombuds does not maintain records with names or identifying information. The only exception to confidentiality is when the ombuds believes there is an imminent risk of serious bodily harm to oneself or to others.

Why go to the Office of the Ombuds?

If you are unsure of what to do next or unsure which office can appropriately address your concerns, an ombuds can help direct you. The ombuds will listen to your concerns, provide information, help you develop options and approaches, and/or refer you to other campus resources.

May any faculty use the Ombuds’ services?

Absolutely. The Office of the Ombuds is available to all faculty, whether tenured, assistant, visiting, or lecturer.

What is ombuds “informality”?

An ombuds does not participate in formal complaint processes, does not have authority to make administrative decisions, and does not determine guilt or innocence of anyone accused. If you are coming to the office to have a record of your complaint, the Office of the Ombuds is not the right place.

Why doesn’t the Office of the Ombuds use email?

The confidentiality of University email cannot be ensured. Also, email creates a permanent record and the ombuds does not keep records.

Can I get legal advice from the Office of the Ombuds?

Legal advice is outside the scope of the ombuds role but the ombuds can help you understand your rights and can provide referrals.

Are there disputes that the ombuds does not address?

The ombuds does not address disputes between a member of the campus community and private individuals or organizations not affiliated with UCSB.

The ombuds does not handle formal grievances or legal issues of any kind. However, you may use the ombuds before, after, or as a parallel process to a formal grievance procedure.

Can I get psychological counseling from the Office of the Ombuds?

The ombuds does not provide psychological services.

I prefer not to come into the office. Can I schedule a telephone appointment?

Although in-person meetings are recommended, the office can accommodate a telephone appointment.

Do I have to give my name and number when I call the ombuds?

When you call the office, you will be asked for your name and number in case your appointment needs to rescheduled. If you prefer, you can choose to remain anonymous.

How can the ombuds be neutral if the University pays their salaries?

The ombuds staff are paid by UCSB to be a neutral, confidential and independent resource for members of the University community for the resolution of complaints and disputes. The Office of the Ombuds reports to the Executive Vice Chancellor for budgetary and administrative purposes only, not related to case content. The Office of the Ombuds is compliant with the International Ombudsman Association Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, which require an ombuds to be independent of management and to remain neutral. The ombuds will disclose or recuse themselves entirely from matters where a conflict exists between their duty of neutrality and their own private interests.

I have read all the FAQs, and my question still isn’t answered.

Call (805) 893-3285. If your question can not be answered over the phone, you can schedule an appointment.