Ombuds Office

Values, Principles & Standards of Practice

The Ombuds Office holds and promotes the same values that govern California State University, Chico: integrity, respect for others, diversity, and freedom from bias and harassment. You can view the University Ombuds Policy online.

The Ombuds Office is also committed to the professional principles of confidentiality, impartiality, independence, and informality as prescribed by the International Ombudsman Association’s Code of Ethics (PDF)  and Standards of Practice (PDF). (If you need special accommodation to access these external documents, please contact the Office of Accessible Technology and Services.)

Confidentiality

  • All communications with ombuds are held in strict confidence with the exception of situations that involve imminent risk of serious harm or discrimination, harassment, or retaliation based on gender or sexual orientation. For more information, please see the Title IX web page.
  • Ombuds do not reveal any aspect of a visitor’s conversation with any other party, nor does an ombuds take specific action related to a visitor’s issue without the visitor’s expressed permission.
  • No records are kept other than statistics and trend data; any data or trend information provided to the University will adhere to confidentiality standards; visitors remain anonymous, and specific information that may identify the involved parties is removed.
  • Informal notes taken by ombuds are kept in a locked cabinet and  destroyed once the visitor no longer is using ombuds services.
  • Appointment scheduling is done on a secured website.

Independence

  • The Ombuds Office is functionally independent from any other office within the University.
  • Ombuds exercise sole discretion over whether or how to act regarding an individual’s concern or trend of concerns over time.
  • To help resolve an issue, the ombuds has access to all information and all individuals in the organization, as permitted by law.

Impartiality

  • Ombuds are neutral, impartial, and unaligned.
  • Ombuds advocate for fair and equitable practices and processes rather than on the behalf of any individual or group within the University.
  • We work with visitors to identify and evaluate a range of options to resolve problems and facilitate discussion to identify the best options.

Imformality

  • Ombuds participate in creative problem-solving since the office does not participate in formal procedures or processes such as investigation, evaluation, adjudication, and formal grievances.
  • We can look at procedural irregularities and/or broader systemic problems when appropriate and make suggestions for improvement to university units.
  • Ombuds do not make binding decisions.
  • Visiting the ombuds is voluntary.