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How can an Ombudsperson help?

The ombudsperson can assist in resolving difficult issues by offering a range of services to the staff and faculty of Hampshire College.

The ombudsperson can:

  • Listen to your concerns without passing judgment; help you to clarify your thoughts, feelings, and goals; and assist you in creating strategies for resolving problems/conflicts, even if you are not planning to take action.
  • Find answers to your questions about policy and procedure or refer you to someone who can.
  • Identify and help analyze problems and explore options for addressing them.
  • Informally mediate disputes and facilitate discussions between individuals or groups.
  • Recommend the review of policies or procedures and track trends that may impact issues of equity and fairness.
  • Identify harmful trends and suggest where the College may direct attention to address these problems or issues. Although the ombudsperson has no direct authority to change College policy, the ombudsperson is charged with the responsibility to inform the President and senior leadership of issues and trends that may impact equity and fairness and suggest where administration may need to direct attention to address those issues.
  • Educate members of the community in ways to manage conflicts effectively, resolve disputes, and help with team building within the community.

The power of the office of the ombudsperson rests in our ability to listen and inform; there are many things the ombuds office will not do:

  • The ombudsperson will not conduct formal investigations.
  • The ombudsperson will not make policy.
  • The ombudsperson will not adjudicate, arbitrate, or participate in internal or external formal processes (including legal processes).
  • The ombudsperson will not breach confidentiality* even with consent.
  • The ombudsperson will not provide legal advice.

* There are exceptions to the pledge of confidentiality. Please see the “Guiding Principles” section below. Please also note that by choosing to use the office of the ombudsperson you are agreeing to these “Guiding Principles,” and you also agree not to ask the ombudsperson to breach any of the outlined principles.

Guiding Principles and Standards of Practice
The Hampshire College ombudsperson is a member of The International Ombudsman Association (IOA) and practices according to the IOA Code of Ethics (Adobe PDF Download-posted January 2007) and IOA Standards of Practice (Adobe PDF Download- posted October 2009).

The International Ombudsman Association (IOA) is the largest international organization of organizational ombuds practitioners in the world, representing over 500 members from the United States and across the globe. It was formed in July 2005 as a merger of two former organizations, The Ombudsman Association (TOA) and University and College Ombuds Association (UCOA).


Contact Us

Carol Stewart, Ombudsperson
Harold F. Johnson Library, Rm 212
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002

© 2014 Hampshire College 893 West Street Amherst, MA 01002 . 413.549.4600