|The Ombuds Officer is a neutral complaint-handler who seeks fair and equitable solutions to problems. The Ombuds Office serves the entire Columbia University community. In considering any given instance or concern, the rights of all parties that may be involved, along with the welfare of the University, are taken into account.
The Ombuds Office is a safe and confidential place to voice concerns. No formal permanent records of individual cases are kept, except anonymous aggregate statistical data on the categories of complaints or inquiries. The Ombuds Officer will not report the names of callers or visitors or the specific content of problems reported unless permission is granted, or in the very rare instance in which there is reasonable cause to believe that the safety of the caller or others may be endangered.
Except in emergencies, the Ombuds Officer does not take action or investigate an issue without the permission of the person who introduced the information to the Ombuds Office. The Ombuds Officer will listen, offer information about Columbia University policies and procedures, present a range of options for resolving a problem or help find ways to convey information while maintaining the confidentiality of the source.
The Ombuds Officer may conduct an informal, impartial investigation or facilitate a resolution upon request. However, the Ombuds Officer does not arbitrate or adjudicate. The Ombuds Officer has no power to establish, change, or set aside any University rules or policies. However, the Ombuds Officer is a resource for administrators and, when appropriate, may make recommendations or propose general changes in existing practices to correct problem areas or stimulate discussion of issues affecting the University community.
The Ombuds Office supplements, but does not replace, the existing resources for conflict resolution and fair practice available at Columbia University. The Ombuds Office is independent of existing administrative structures and reports directly to the President of the University.
Discussions with the Ombuds Officer are off-the-record and do not constitute formal notice to the University.
For further information, contact Dr. Marsha Wagner, Ombuds Officer, in 101 Bard Hall, 50 Haven Avenue; telephone: (212) 304-7026; fax: (212) 854-6046; e-mail: email@example.com.