C24.0 Ombuds Office

I. Mission Statement

The Ombuds Office serves the RIT community and provides impartial, independent, confidential and informal dispute management and resolution resources.  This practice is in accordance with the Standards of Practice and the Code of Ethics of the International Ombuds Association.

II. The RIT Ombuds

For the purposes of this section, the term Ombuds refers to both the Ombuds and Associate Ombuds. The principal responsibilities and functions of an Ombuds are to:

Serve as an impartial, independent, informal and confidential conflict management resource for any member of the RIT community, including faculty, staff, students, etc.

  • Facilitate various dispute resolution processes, such as information gathering, informal mediation, negotiation, coaching, problem solving, etc.

  • Serve as a central resource to provide information or guidance to community members on issues of policy, referral, or other matters.

  • Identify problematic and/or recurring issues, policies and procedures and bring those to the attention of those who are authorized to resolve them.

  • Advocate for fair process in the context of a specific situation or case.

  • Advocate for a fair, equitable and positive campus climate and community.

  • Report annually to the RIT community on the activities of the Ombuds office, or as needed.

Ombuds cannot:

  • Have administrative decision-making authority, or determine responsibility in any matter.

  • Serve as advocate for any party or position in a conflict.

  • Conduct formal investigations.

  • Act as a witness, participate, or testify in any formal grievance or internal process.

  • Fill other university roles that could create conflicts of interest in maintaining their neutral position.

  • Provide legal advice or psychological counseling, but can refer visitors to on- and off-campus resources.

  • Create any official records related to a case that would identify of a community member using the office. The Ombuds may maintain statistical data for use in reports and providing feedback.

  • Violate confidentiality except when there is imminent threat to harm one's self or other persons, or as required by applicable law.

An Ombuds scope of service is limited to informal means of conflict resolution. Communication with the Ombuds does not constitute formal organizational notification to RIT of alleged violations of policies, procedures or laws. The Ombuds can assist community members to explore avenues for resolution including offices where formal notification can occur.

Access to Resources
An Ombuds will have access to all members of the university community and all university records and reports with the exception of medical, psychiatric, and psychological records.

An Ombuds will have access to external, independent expertise and resources.

Reporting Relationships
The Ombuds will administratively report to the president of RIT. The Associate Ombuds and the Ombuds Office Coordinator will administratively report to the Ombuds.

Responsible Office:
Office of the Ombuds

Effective Date:
Approved September 1989

Policy History:

Revised May 9, 2007
Edited September 2010
Edited May 8, 2013, for calendar conversion
Moved to Section C - General University Policies, Policy C24.0 - September 22, 2014
Revised August 31, 2022 - update of name to Ombuds from Ombudsperson along with responsibilities and functions, additional language to include updated rolls of Associate Ombuds and Ombuds Office Coordinator and removal of Ombuds Office Advisory Board