The Office of the Ombuds was established at UC Santa Barbara in 1970 as an alternative channel for communication and dispute resolution and in response to the political unrest and turbulence of the time. Upon petition of the students, it was determined that there would be an Advisory Counsil and certain parameters for the selection of the ombuds to ensure independence and neutrality. The first Ombuds, Geoffrey Wallace, served in the role of Campus Ombuds for over 30 years until he retired in 2004, at which time the office was closed temporarily. A Task Force on Dispute Resolution and Mediation was appointed by Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas "to consider the support the office provides for dispute resolution and mediation in the context of the current budget constraints and the structural changes that have occurred on the campus since the inception of this program." The Task Force report recommended the reopening of the Office of the Ombuds and the Executive Vice Chancellor supported the recommendation and re-opened the Office of the Ombuds in January 2005. Read the task force's final report here. Administrative support for the Office of the Ombuds is currently provided by Executive Vice Chancellor David Marshall and his staff.

A Brief History of the Ombuds Role

What is often considered the first ombuds office was established in Sweden in the early 1800's to provide citizens with a place to bring their concerns and complaints regarding the government. The essential purpose of an ombuds is to help people informally resolve conflicts or complaints. Organizational ombuds provide information, options, and impartial review for individuals, as well as feedback and recommendations for system change to senior management.