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Administration

Ombudsman

What Is an Ombudsman?

An ombudsman is an independent, informal, neutral and confidential resource who provides assistance to members of the University community in exploring options to resolve problems, complaints and conflicts when normal processes and procedures have not worked satisfactorily. This assistance is an alternate to formal administrative channels, supplementing them but not replacing them. The Ombuds Office serves as a resource for those who seek guidance on policies, procedures and regulations affecting faculty, graduate students, postdocs, undergraduate students and staff. Ombuds can refer individuals to persons able to resolve problems or handle issues at the lowest possible level. Where appropriate, ombuds can also facilitate communication between parties who find themselves in a dispute.

What Is the Ombuds' Role?

Ombuds strive to foster equitable treatment of all faculty, graduate students, postdocs, undergraduate students and staff within the University system. Ombuds provide an independent, neutral point of view in an informal and confidential environment. All ombuds at Clemson adhere to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the International Ombudsman Association, as explained below. We are not part of any administrative structure at Clemson and refrain from making policy, administrative decisions or conducting formal investigations.

Confidential
Private confidential meetings can be arranged at your convenience. All communications will be treated with strict confidentiality to the extent permissible by law. The Ombuds will not identify you or discuss your personal concerns with anyone unless, within the course of your conversations with the Ombuds, you and the Ombuds both deem it appropriate to do so. The only exception to confidentiality to the extent permissible by law, is when an Ombuds determines that there is risk of imminent harm. Matters discussed with an ombudsman are considered confidential, "off the record," and do not constitute formal notice of any claims to Clemson University. The Ombuds Office is made available to visitors with the express understanding that it provides them with a confidential, independent, neutral and alternate channel of communication. Use of the Ombuds Office constitutes an agreement not to seek to compel an ombudsman to reveal confidential communications in formal or legal proceedings.

Independent, Fair and Impartial
Ombuds work toward resolutions based on principles of fairness. Ombuds are neither advocates for faculty, administration, students or staff, nor agents of the University, but are advocates of fair processes.

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