How can I Contact the Student Ombudsman?
Students may contact the ombudsman in person, by e-mail, or by phone. Please remember that e-mail is not recommended for confidential discussions. The LSSU Ombudsman is:
Dr. Sally Childs
Norris Center, Room 108D
What is an Ombudsman?
The LSSU ombudsman is a senior faculty member appointed by the President and Provost to assist students in resolving student conflicts or disputes within the university. The ombudsman carries out these duties in a neutral, impartial, confidential, informal and independent manner.
What does an Ombudsman do?
Following a request for assistance, the ombudsman will take one or more of the following actions: (1) listen carefully to the concern, (2) explain relevant student rights and responsibilities, (3) review relevant university policies or regulations, (4) suggest fair and equitable options, (5) refer the individual to an appropriate university resource or (6) investigate, when necessary.
Specifically the LSSU Student Ombudsman
- meets with the respective student and listens intently,
- discusses conflicts, disputes, and complaints that the student has about the functioning of the University, including policies, and procedures, the actions of others, and treatment that is unfair,
- helps the student identify and evaluate the options available to address his/her concerns
- works with the student to promote the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills,
- helps the student to understand their rights and will encourage and coach the student to work on their own behalf to resolve conflicts,
- answers questions or find others who are able to answer the respective questions,
- engages in shuttle diplomacy between parties who are finding it difficult to solve a problem between the two of them, or
- identifies problem areas, and areas of conflict, that exist within the University and makes recommendations to the University leadership.
Are there things the Ombudsman cannot do?
Yes. The ombudsman is not an advocate for any group on campus; instead, the ombudsman is an advocate for fairness. The ombudsman also does not provide legal service, represent students or instructors at academic grievance or disciplinary hearings or mediate disputes between or among faculty or between faculty and administrators. The ombudsman does not accept formal complaints, or notices, for the university.
Specifically the LSSU Student Ombudsman does not
- administer sanctions,
- determine “guilt” or “innocence” of those being accused of wrong doing ,
- make academic or administrative decisions for other parts of the University
- give legal advice,
- participate in formal grievance processes, hearings or judicial processes,
- accept official “notice” for the University about issues,
- keep official University records and/or written accounts of individual meetings with students, or
- respond to subpoenas or other requests for information because of assertion of ombudsman privilege.
According to the International Ombudsman Association (www.ombudsassociation.org) Code of Ethics, an ombudsman practices:
- Independence: An ombudsman is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible within the organization
- Neutrality and Impartiality: The Ombudsman, as a designated neutral, remains unaligned and impartial. The Ombudsman does not engage in any situation which could create a conflict of interest.
- Confidentiality: The Ombudsman holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so. The only exception to this privilege of confidentiality is where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.
- Informality: The Ombudsman, as an informal resource, does not participate in formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to his/her attention.