Our Role

We assist the campus community with the informal resolution of any University-related complaint or conflict. We offer a safe and confidential place to discuss concerns.

Associate Ombuds meets with a visitor

Roles and Responsibilities for the Office of the Ombuds

The Ombuds will:

  • Listen to your questions and concerns
  • Help identify and evaluate options
  • Offer an impartial perspective
  • Facilitate difficult conversations as an impartial third-party
  • Make referrals to appropriate resources
  • Provide training for conflict management skills
  • Recommend constructive change in University policies and procedures

The Ombuds will not:

  • Provide legal advice
  • Offer psychological counseling
  • Make decisions or render judgments on issues
  • Conduct formal investigations
  • Participate or testify in formal processes, including lawsuits or grievances
  • "Take sides" or advocate for individuals or for the University in a dispute
  • Accept notice on behalf of the University

The Office of the Ombuds supplements, but does not replace, existing resources for conflict resolution at UCSB. If you are not satisfied with informal attempts at resolving a conflict, you may choose to initiate a grievance process. We can give you information about these types of formal processes but cannot handle or get involved with them.

Consulting with the Office of the Ombuds is completely voluntary. All members of the University community have the right to speak with the Office. Retaliation for exercising that right will not be tolerated.

Faculty Ombuds meets with a visitor

Authority of the Office of the Ombuds

We have the authority to contact senior officers of the University, to gather information in the course of looking into a problem, to mediate disputes, to bring concerns to the attention of those in authority, and to attempt to expedite administrative processes. We are entitled to inquire informally about any issue concerning the University and affecting any member of the University community. This means we might initiate an informal inquiry without having received a specific complaint. Campus individuals who are contacted by us with requests for information are expected to cooperate and, as much as possible, to provide appropriate information as requested. We will not request a department or individual to breach confidentiality.

We may make any systemic recommendations we deem appropriate with regard to resolving problems or improving policies, rules, or procedures. However, we have no actual authority to impose remedies or sanctions or to enforce or change any policy, rule, or procedure. These recommendations for change are based on perceived trends. While we do not keep records of specific complaints or problems, we do keep track of general statistical patterns and bring concerns to the attention of those with the authority to make institutional improvements. These data may signal emerging issues, indicate new trends, highlight vulnerable groups, or suggest areas of improvement. Our data collection never includes details that could identify individuals' confidential information.