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. This is a critical time for clients who come to the Department of Student Rights and Responsibilities to speak with an Ombudsman. The information they receive will help to inform their decision making and will help them decide how to move forward.

The consultation process provides substantive value to the clients and lay the groundwork for a successful dispute resolution. Most clients have never used alternative dispute resolution, they don’t know what to expect, which is reflected in the standard questions that come up in nearly every consultation. The consultation is an opportunity for the Ombudsman to answer whatever questions the client may have about institutional complaint procedures and the variety of alternative dispute resolution options available to them as members of the South Texas College community.

By providing a comprehensive consultation, that describes all of the services offered by the Ombudsman and the College’s institutional complaint process, the burden of asking questions is shifted from the clients, onto the Ombudsman, who is responsible for asking probing questions, and providing a thorough, informative initial consultation. This will help the clients feel at ease, establish trust, and get the ball rolling toward a successful resolution.

The consultation process involves the following steps:

  1. Get basic contact/ demographic information about the clients, including names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.
  2. Make sure the clients understands the institutional complaint procedures, and the various forms of alternative dispute resolution at their disposal.
  3. Make sure the clients understand what the role of the Ombudsman is and is not, and to make clear that the client is not being offered legal advice and the proper protocol to place South Texas College on notice.
  4. Set the clients’ expectations about the institutional complaint procedures, and what they can expect during alternative dispute resolution.
  5. Educate the clients about any steps they’ll have to follow during the institutional complaint procedures, or when utilizing alternative dispute resolution processes, including any “homework” or other documentation they will need to prepare ahead of time.

For more information on consultations, contact the Department of Student Rights and Responsibilities and ask to speak to one of our highly trained Ombudsman about our services.