Faculty Ombudsman

Executive Memorandum 87-005

August 7, 1987

From: Robin S. Wilson, President

Subject: Faculty Ombudsman

Upon recommendation by the Faculty Senate, the attached policy on appointment of a Faculty Ombudsman is approved for immediate implementation. This policy creates a Faculty Ombudsman position whose responsibility is to settle faculty complaints of alleged violation of campus or system policies other than contract issues.

A faculty ombudsman will be appointed from the ranks of full professor, tenured faculty, including emeritus professor. The appointment will be made each spring by the Provost in consultation with the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate. The person selected must be acceptable to both the Provost and the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate. Appropriate time and resources will be provided by the University.

The primary responsibility of the ombudsman will be to attempt settlement of complaints by faculty alleging violation or misapplication of campus and system policies not addressed in the Unit 3 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The ombudsman will avoid dealing with contract issues and will first attempt to determine if a complaint involves an issue subject to grievance under the MOU. If the ombudsman determines that it does not, they may proceed. If at any time the grievance committee of the California Faculty Association (CFA) notifies the ombudsman that in its judgment a matter they are attempting to resolve is a contract matter, they will discontinue attempts at resolution and notify the complainant.

When a matter is within the purview of the ombudsman, the following procedures will obtain: 

  1. The ombudsman will receive and investigate complaints. University personnel will cooperate with the ombudsman. With the consent of the complainant, the ombudsman will have access to the complainant's personnel file for the purposes of considering the complaint.
  2. The ombudsman's conclusion that a complaint is without substance or merit will be communicated to the complainant and to others as appropriate.
  3. If the ombudsman concludes that a complaint is substantive and meritorious, he will notify the appropriate administrator(s) and faculty committees with recommendations for a suitable remedy. The ombudsman will send copies of the notice and recommendations to the Provost and Faculty Senate Chair.
  4. The ombudsman will monitor the responses to his reports and recommendations. Those receiving recommendations for remediation will inform the ombudsman in writing of response or intention to respond, complete with proposed timelines, within 14 days of the notification. The ombudsman will consult as necessary with those notified.
  5. If no response is received within 14 days or the response is deemed unacceptable, the ombudsman will so notify the Provost, the Faculty Senate Chair, and others as appropriate.
  6. The Provost with the assistance of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee will assume responsibility for implementation of the recommendations of the ombudsman after the 14-day period. 
  7. The ombudsman will report to the Faculty Senate at the first meeting of each semester. The report will include the general nature of the complaints processed and an assessment of the effectiveness of the ombudsman program.