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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.

The ombuds is also not a mandated reporter for purposes of Title IX. If you wish to report a problem or concern or file a complaint regarding sexual harassment of discrimination, the ombuds can direct you to the appropriate person or office.

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, the Office of the Ombuds can help you decide. An ombuds will listen to your concerns, help you develop options, and/or refer you to other campus resources.

Can any staff member use the Ombuds’ services?

The ombuds is available to all staff at UCSB, including managers and union members. The office is also available to faculty or students. If you know of a faculty member or student having an issue, please refer them to the office.

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 e-mail?

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.

I’m not sure if a policy applies to me. Can I talk to the ombuds about that?

Yes.

I have a sensitive issue. May I request to speak to a particular ombuds?

Yes.

I have several concerns. What if I don’t even know where to begin?

The Office of the Ombuds is a safe space to figure out what might be some root causes of your workplace issues. You and the ombuds will work together to help identify what might be some of the issues.

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 phone number when I call the ombuds?

When you call the office, you will be asked for your name and phone 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. What should I do?

Call the office at (805) 893-3285. If the answer is straightforward, an ombuds might be able to answer your question over the phone. If your question is a bit more involved, an appointment can be scheduled for you.