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About the Office of the Ombuds

What is the Office of the Ombuds?

The UC San Diego Office of the Ombuds provides confidential, neutral, and informal dispute resolution services for the UC San Diego community. The office is available to assist faculty, staff, students, non-Senate academics, postdoctoral trainees, and employees of UC San Diego Health System (UC San Diego Medical Center and related facilities) who seek guidance with the resolution of academic or administrative issues and disputes. Its services supplement, but do not replace, other administrative processes at the University. The office works to facilitate communication and assist parties in reaching mutually acceptable agreements in order to find fair and equitable resolutions to concerns that arise at the university. The ombuds office also reports general trends of issues and provides feedback throughout the organization, and advocates systems change when appropriate without disclosing confidential communications.

The ombuds office functions independently with respect to case handling and issue management and reports to Ethics and Compliance in the Chancellor's office for administrative and budgetary purposes but not regarding the substance of matters discussed in the office. Its services supplement other administrative processes and formal grievance procedures available at the University. When providing services, the ombuds staff adheres to The International Ombudsman Association Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice which may be found on our website.

What is the origin of the term "ombuds" and the profession?

The position of ombudsman was originally created in Sweden in 1809. The Swedish Parliament appointed an ombudsman to resolve difficult problems in the absence of the country's abducted king. In more recent times, ombuds programs have been created throughout the world to assist citizens, consumers and employees who wish to address concerns about administrative actions or lack of action. In the United States, the various types of ombuds functions are utilized in state and local governments, nursing homes, the media, colleges and universities, corporations, prisons and agencies of the federal government.

Eastern Montana College was the first educational institution in the United States to appoint an ombudsperson in 1966. In 1967, Michigan State University became the first major U.S. University to establish an ombuds office. During the period of nationwide campus unrest in the late 1960's and early 1970's, a number of universities established ombuds programs in an attempt to respond to demands for a neutral, confidential and "safe" place to discuss concerns and voice complaints. It is now estimated that more than 200 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada have established ombuds offices. The majority of the University of California campuses have ombuds programs, some of which started as early as 1969. The UC San Diego Office of the Ombuds was established on April 22, 2002 by Chancellor Robert C. Dynes as an organizational ombuds office to serve as an alternative channel for communication and issue resolution and was established as part of a comprehensive plan to increase communication and feedback at UC San Diego.

1Ombuds history excerpted from the University and College Ombuds Association handbook.

How can I meet with the Ombudsperson?

Our office is located in La Jolla on the main campus adjacent to the Gilman Parking Structure and across the street from the Medical School.

To make an appointment, please call 858-534-0777.