ECU Ombudsman Office We are here for you…. And you….. And you……
Housed in Flanagan 137 • Available 8 am - 5 pm Monday through Friday • We cater to the needs of the ECU Community
What is our mission? • The Ombuds Office is a place where members of the ECU community (Faculty, Staff, Students, Administration) can go for assistance in resolving conflicts, disputes or complaints on an informal basis. The Office is independent, neutral and confidential.
Overview: Helping People Help themselves • Counseling with employees and managers to explore options • Helping people come to terms with things they cannot change • Helping people recognize the alternatives they do have and the consequences of each.
Overview Informal Investigation - The ombudsman reports (on issues only, with care to protect names/locations) coupled with recommendations to address a problem that may be widespread or believe to become widespread. Informal Mediation - The ombudsman brings the parties together in a neutral atmosphere and provides a framework enabling the parties to focus on the problem and achieve a resolution that meets the needs and interests of both parties
Code of Ethics The Ombudsman, as designated neutral has the responsibility for maintaining strict confidentiality concerning matters that are brought to his/her attention unless given permission to do otherwise. The only exceptions, at the sole discretion of the ombudsman, are where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm. The Ombudsman must take all reasonable steps to protect any records and files pertaining to confidential discussions from inspection by all other persons, including management. The ombudsman should not testify in any formal judicial or administrative hearing about concerns brought to his/her attention. When making recommendations, the ombudsman has the responsibility to suggest actions or policies that will be equitable to all parties
What does an Ombudsman do? • Impartial source of assistance • Provides confidentiality • Operates outside the “normal” chain of command • Helps to find an acceptable solution to problems and concerns as expressed by visitors that meet the needs of both visitor and other parties • Provides feedback to ECU on issues
What does an Ombudsman do? (continued) • Works through negotiation, influence, personal powers of persuasion/good business practices and/or perceived power • Provides a “safety-net” for those issues that are not addressed through normal channels • IS an “early warning system” allowing ECU to be pro-active • Is NOT a decision maker – but does make recommendations
Who uses the Ombuds Services? • Students • Faculty • Staff • Parents • Administration
Who uses the Ombuds Services? : Students • University Excused Absences • Crisis Intervention • Policies and Procedures • LISTEN with compassion and understanding • Point out options and solutions • Assist students with referrals to appropriate University Departments
Who uses the Ombuds Services? Faculty • We will investigate alleged incidents with students and other staff members. • We will exercise discretion whether to act upon a concern of an individual contacting the office. An Ombudsman may initiate action on a problem he or she perceives directly.
Who uses the Ombuds Services? Staff • In a culturally diverse organization, fear of retaliation by superiors and/or cultural prohibition of confrontation may lead to covert activities. The Ombudsman acts as a conduit between such employees and management-- sharing relevant facts and re-framing statements in words and phrases that are non-threatening.
Who uses the Ombuds Services? Parents • We assist the parents with information that will calm them and assure them that the situation that they called about will be dealt with professionally and someone will get back to them. • We will not divulge student information unless the student acknowledges our right to do so, according to the federal guidelines established when FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) was created. • We will do our best to answer all of your questions to the best of our ability.
Who uses the Ombuds Services? Administration • We are asked at times to investigate allegations of Faculty behavior with students, staff and colleagues. We assist, when needed, to sit through hearings regarding Faculty “situations”.