Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

All members of the Stockton community (Faculty, Staff, and Students) may contact the ombuds officer.

Universities can be complex institutions. Misunderstandings and conflicts can and will occur from time to time. The Mission of the ombuds office is to provide confidential and informal assistance in resolving these conflicts and to promote fair and equitable treatment within the university.  An ombuds officer will:

  • Listen to complaints and review/discuss conflicts.
  • Help individuals candidly discuss issues and explore options.
  • Open channels of communication.
  • Serve as a neutral third party in conflict resolution.
  • Work to achieve fair and equitable solutions to problems.
  • Make referrals to appropriate University resources, so that you can go directly to the person who can best address your concerns.
  • Suggest approaches for addressing and managing conflict.
  • Collaborate with other University offices (when appropriate) on issues of general concern.
  • Assist in interpretating and clarifying University policies.
  • When you are unclear about where to take a workplace problem/conflict.
  • When you want to discuss strategies for preventing, managing, and resolving conflicts.
  • When you want an independent facilitator to assist you or your group in addressing workplace conflict and/or workplace challenges.

If appropriate, and depending upon the information provided, the ombuds officer may choose to review the matter raised and/or refer it to another office that is better equipped to address the matter.

No. However, if a person begins with the ombuds office, and then elects to move the issue to another office, the ombuds officer may no longer participate in the process unless all parties agree, in writing, to waive confidentiality.

The primary service provide by the ombuds officer is conflict resolution via mediation.

  • Additional services may include:
    • Consultation,
    • Problem Solving & Meeting Facilitation,
    • Coaching,
    • Referrals (to another more appropriate resource),
    • Training & Professional Development Consultations.
  • Conducting and/or participating in formal investigations.
  • Taking sides in a dispute.
  • Serving as an arbitrator, judge or jury in a dispute. 
  • Accepting or providing official/formal notice of an alleged violation.
  • Serving as a witness or providing testimony in a formal proceeding.
  • Issuing investigative reports with binding decisions.
  • Participating in any formal grievance or formal complaint process.
  • Providing any legal or medical advice.

It is an informal channel that works toward fostering a positive and productive workplace environment for all community members.

Yes, provided confidentiality is maintained and the report deals with systemic issues or serious and alarming trends.
The ombuds officer will not retain any written record from the mediation process except the successful mediation agreement. Assigned mediators will promptly shred all other documents and notes as soon as the mediation process has been concluded.  Please note that mediated agreements may not be used as evidence in subsequent proceedings.

No. The mediation process shall be solely between the parties themselves and the ombuds officer. Representatives, legal, or union, or other, shall not be permitted at meetings between the parties and they shall not advise the parties during meetings called by the ombudsman officer. However, these procedures do not prohibit a party from discussing his/her/their case and options for resolution presented by the ombudsman officer with a representative outside of meetings with the ombudsman officer, provided the representative has contacted the ombuds officer in advance of the meeting and agrees to confidentiality.

Yes,  The ombuds office is committed to the professional principles prescribed by the International Ombudsman Association Codes of Ethics and Standards of Practice at: www.ombudsassociation.org.