CSU, Chico News

Ombuds Offer Conflict Resolution Alternative

Date: 02-23-2016

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs

The new Ombuds Office at California State University, Chico is providing members of the campus community with an additional resource for addressing university-related disputes or concerns.

Beginning this semester, two newly appointed ombuds can provide CSU, Chico students, staff, faculty, administrators and visitors with conflict resolution support in an environment that is confidential, neutral, independent and informal.

Specifically, ombuds aim to create a safe, informal environment to listen to concerns; help identify issues and ways to reach solutions; help people improve their communication with others; explain university policies and procedures; refer people to on- or off-campus resources; and report problematic trends or issues to university leadership.

Ombuds are used voluntarily, and their services do not replace other, more formal, processes at the University.

Communication sciences and disorders professor Suzanne Miller and management professor James Morgan are serving as the inaugural ombuds. Each brings to the role decades of teaching experience at CSU, Chico, a history of campus leadership and demonstrated problem-solving and communication skills.

The Ombuds Office was established by the Office of the President and the executive committee of the Academic Senate through an executive memorandum June 30, 2015. It opened at the beginning of the spring 2016 semester.

“The establishment of the Ombuds Office provides our campus community with another means to ensure a supportive and protected environment for all who work, study and live here,” said CSU, Chico President Paul Zingg. “Our first two ombuds, Dr. Jim Morgan and Dr. Suzanne Miller, will set the standard for the success of this office, and we are extremely fortunate to have such able and respected university citizens taking on this role.”

CSU, Chico’s ombuds office follows the standards of practice and ethical principles of the International Ombudsman Association, including confidentiality, independence, impartiality and informality. Ombuds do not have the authority to advise people or advocate on any party’s behalf in a conflict. They do not handle matters related to collective bargaining agreements or Title IX, among others issues.

For more information on the Ombuds Office, please visit www.csuchico.edu/ombuds or call the office at 530-898-3955.