Welcome to Georgia State University’s Office of the Ombudsperson! Our goal is to foster a cohesive sense of community by being an advocate for fair and equitable treatment for faculty, staff and students. We help to:
The Ombudsperson does not advocate for a particular party and cannot assist if you have sought legal counsel. We have access to people, records and services but cannot guarantee an outcome. We will review your complaint, obtain all pertinent facts, be impartial in attempting to resolve the issue, and explain different resolution strategies.
We support effective communication, cooperation, equity, and civility in academic and work environments through coaching individuals, facilitating communication between persons and departments, mediation, providing information on university policy, and where needed, recommending appropriate institutional action or change.
The Ombudsperson is a confidential resource for all persons on campus. Our goal is to advocate, not for a specific individual, but for equity, fair processes, and compliance with university policy and procedure. We act as complaint receivers for persons who believe they have been treated unfairly, coaches to help persons independently resolve difficult situation and as facilitators or mediators in an effort to assist persons in conflict to reach fair resolutions.
Ombuds Guiding Principles
The Office of the Ombudsperson is a safe place where members of the Georgia State University community can go for impartial, confidential assistance in resolving conflicts, disputes, or complaints on an informal basis. The University Office of the Ombudsperson adheres to the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. These standards were developed in accordance with commonly understood principles within the ombuds profession: confidential, neutral, independent, and informal.
Confidentiality describes communications, or a source of communications, which are intended to be held in secret. In an Ombuds’ work, confidentiality is often accomplished by providing anonymity to the source of communications. When the source of a communication is unknown, or kept secret or completely private, this is known as an anonymous communication.
Communication with the Office of the Ombudsperson does not constitute notice to the University.
While the Office strives to maintain confidentiality, the Office is also subject to state and federal laws and may be required to disclose information it receives after subpoena.
Ombuds do not serve as advocates for any party to a dispute, including management. However, Ombuds do advocate for fair processes and fair administration of those processes by organizations. When making recommendations, Ombuds have the responsibility to suggest actions or policies that will be as equitable as possible for all parties involved.
The Ombuds Office is independent in structure, function, and appearance. The Ombudsperson functions independently and reports directly to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.
An Ombuds functions on an informal and off-the-record basis by such means as listening to visitors or callers, providing and receiving information, identifying and reframing issues, developing and suggesting a range of options, and (with permission from visitors or callers and at the Ombuds’ discretion) making informal inquiries.
Refer to IOA Standards of Practice for more information.