The ombuds officer (a.k.a. ombudsman, ombudsperson) is a safe, neutral, confidential, and informal resource available to all employees of the Stockton community.
An ombuds officer is a highly trained, third party selected by an institution, such as a university, to resolve employee complaints/disputes within the institution’s community in an informal manner that is consistent with alternative dispute resolution best practices. Notably, the word “ombudsman” originated in Sweden during the 19th Century, when the term applied to a public official appointed to review citizens’ complaints against governmental agencies. The ombuds officer can best be described as “the person who has an ear to the people.”
The primary purpose of the ombuds officer is to make sure that everyone's voice is heard, and that problems can receive impartial attention.The ombuds officer listens to your concerns, clarifies procedures, discusses options, and, upon mutual agreement, may act as an intermediary. The ombuds officer does not advocate for an individual. Rather, the Ombuds Officer advocates for a fair process.
As defined by the International Ombuds Association's Code of Ethics: "The Ombudsman shall be truthful and act with integrity, shall foster respect for all members of the organization he, she or they serve, and shall promote procedural fairness in the content and administration of those organizations’ practices, processes, and policies".
Please note that while generally a confidential resource, pursuant to current University policy, the Ombuds Officer is a mandatory reporter obligated to report knowledge of suspected discrimination, sexual harassment, imminent public safety risks, child abuse and violations of court orders.
Dr. Karen Reardon