Ask the Ombudsperson
Please review the Ombuds Services Toolkit before submitting your form:
It is recommended that all confidential communication be done in person. Email is not a secure communication method and we cannot guarantee the confidentiality of information communicated by e-mail.
International Ombudsman Association Ethical Principles
The 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.
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.
The Ombudsman, as an informal resource, does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to his/her attention.
What is an Ombudsman?
An ombudsman is one who assists individuals and groups in the resolution of conflicts or concerns. The typical duties of an ombudsman would be to assist in parties informally by listen to concerns, explain campus policies, and act as a neutral resource between the student and employees of the College. The Ombudsperson facilitates communication between and among the parties to help minimize potential conflicts. The Ombudsperson may attempt to resolve complaints using mediation or other forms of conflict resolution. The Ombudsman may also identify systemic issues that lead to poor service or breaches of individual rights.
The Ombudsperson does not maintain records or receives notice on behalf of South Texas College.
The Office of the Ombudsperson provides confidential, informal, independent, and neutral dispute resolution services for members of the College community. The office assists students in identifying and evaluating options for resolving and managing conflicts, provides mediation services, conducts workshops on conflict management, and makes referrals to other appropriate College and community resources.
The Office is familiar with the organizational structure of the College and can provide current information about campus services, programs, policies, and procedures. Due to our informal, confidential, and independent role outside the administrative structure of the College, notice to the Office of the Ombudsperson about a problem does not result in the generation of records, nor does it constitute legal notice to the College about the existence of a problem. For those interested in making official complaints to the College about a problem, the Office of the Ombudsperson can assist by making appropriate referrals.
The Office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. Please call to request an appointment if you are unable to meet during regular working hours.
The Office of the Ombudsperson does not maintain records for any individual or on behalf of the College. The Office of the Ombudsperson maintains unidentified statistical data for reporting purposes only.
Parties are encouraged to maintain copies of all documents associated with their complaint or concern as the Ombudsperson does not maintain files, notes, or personally identifiable information.
Consultation & Referral Services Is a meeting in which someone talks to a person about a problem, asks questions, and connects the individual to the appropriate office.
Mediation Is a process designed to help parties in a disagreement to hear one another, to minimize the harm that can come from a disagreement and to maximize any area of agreement.
Facilitation Is a process that is used to add content, process, and structure to meet the needs of an individual, group or team.
Conflict Coaching Is a process and a set of strategies used to support peoples’ ability to engage in, manage, or productively resolve conflict.
Communications with the Ombudsperson and the Right to Confidentiality and Privacy
South Texas College recognizes that privacy and confidentiality are essential to the maintenance of the relationship between the parties who access and utilize the services offered by the Ombudsperson. As such, the College is committed to fostering an environment where individuals who access the services may do so without fear of requirement to breach their request for privacy or confidentiality.
South Texas College believes in fostering a confidential relationship between the members of the College community and the Office of the Ombudsperson that promotes self-determination and sees confidential communications as essential to that relationship and the function of the Office.
Furthermore, any violation of this confidential relationship, would be detrimental to the role of the Ombudsperson as an independent, neutral and impartial, confidential, and informal resource for resolving conflicts.
As such, the Office of the Ombudsperson will not disclose, nor be asked to disclose communications made to the Office of the Ombudsperson in confidence.
The consultation is the opening step of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Process. It is a meeting in which the Ombudsperson talks to a person about the problem, question, or concern they have brought forward.
Conflict Coaching is a specialized one-on-one process that helps clients optimize the way they engage in their interpersonal disputes.
Mediation is a structured process in which an impartial person, the mediator, facilitates communication between the parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or an understanding between them.
Facilitated Dialogue is an alternative dispute resolution process that facilitates listing and collaboration for a group or gathering of people in a manner that increases understanding and empathy.
A talking circle is a traditional instrument for dealing with the things that interfere with the normal everyday concerns of a person or their community whether the concern is trivial or serious in nature.