Office of the Ombudsperson
The Role of the Ombudsperson
(Ombuds, Ombudsman, Ombudsperson)
As an advocate for fairness, the Ombudsperson acts as a source of information and referral, responds to questions presented by individuals and provides assistance in the resolution of concerns, problems, and informal complaints. The Ombudsperson does not have authority to take disciplinary action or reverse decisions. In addition, the Ombudsperson does not arbitrate, adjudicate, or participate in any internal or external formal proceedings. The Ombudsperson shall consider the rights of all parties involved. The Ombudsperson reports to the President of the College.
Additional information regarding the standards of practice for university and college ombudspersons can be obtained at The International Ombudsman Association (IOA).
Who does the Ombudsperson serve?
The Office of the Ombudsperson serves the entire Elizabethtown Community and Technical College Community – faculty, staff, students and administrators.
Individuals who seek the assistance of the Ombudsperson can expect strict confidentiality in matters discussed with the Ombudsperson to the extent permitted by law. The ombudsperson will not disclose that you came to the ombudsperson office or disclose any part of your confidential communications unless in the course of your discussions with the ombudsperson, you grant your permission to do so.
Exceptions to confidentiality exist when the Ombudsperson determines there is a threat of imminent harm or is ordered by a court or required by law to disclose information.
The Ombudsperson, as an informal resource, does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to his/her attention. As an informal resource, the Ombudsperson is not authorized to accept notice (formal complaints) for Elizabethtown Community and Technical College. Moreover, because the Ombudsperson holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, subject to the limited exceptions detailed above, the Ombudsperson will not forward information received in confidence.
The Ombudsperson WILL DO the following:
- Listen to you
- Answer your questions
- Analyze your situation
- Explain college policies and procedures
- Provide information and advice
- Develop options
- Suggest appropriate referrals
- Assist you in pursuing a resolution
- Conduct mediations
- Provide conflict management trainings
- Apprise administration of significant trends
- Recommend changes in policies and procedures
The Ombudsperson DOES NOT Do the following:
- Conduct formal investigations
- Change rules, policies, or procedures
- Participate in any formal hearing or grievance process
- Supersede the authority of other college officials
- Disclose, and may not be required to disclose information provided in confidence, except to address an imminent risk of serious harm where there is no other responsible option
- Engage in any activity that might be perceived by others as advocacy for any individual
- Serve as an agent of "notice" for the College.
Common Concerns brought to the Ombudsperson include:
- Academic Honesty
- Disciplinary matters
- Sexual assault
- Cultural conflicts
- Grade appeal procedures
- Financial concerns
- Student life Issues
- Supervisor/employee relations
- Privacy issues
- Workplace issues
- Unethical behavior
- Interpersonal communications
- ..............And many others