History of the Ombudsman
The word OMBUDSMAN (om – buds – man) comes from Scandinavia during the 19th century, where the term means "representative".
An ombuds officer is an appointed, impartial, and independent party who helps members of the Florida Tech community resolve matters by offering an informal and confidential exploration of options. There are a number of different titles or names for this position: “ombudsman,” “ombudsperson” or “ombuds”.
The purpose of the Ombuds Office is provide a neutral person in the organization to facilitate an informal resolution forthe concerns expressed by the constituents of the university.
Excerpt reprinted from The Ombudsman Handbook, The Ombudsman Association, Inc., 1994
All members of the university community.
All conversations with the Ombudsperson staff are confidential unless authorized by the complainant or otherwise required by applicable law, including without limitation, Chapter 119, Florida Statutes http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0100-0199/0119/0119.html
The Ombudsperson does not keep any records containing identifying information on behalf of the organization.
The Ombudsperson will not testify in any formal judicial or administrative hearing about concerns brought to her attention.
If there appears to be an imminent threat of serious harm, confidentiality will be broken.
- Speak directly with the party involved and try to resolve the issue.
- If you are unable to resolve the issue directly with the party involved, advance to the next level of appeal (Supervisor, Department Head, Dean, Director, Vice President, etc.).
- Depending on your status (student, staff, faculty), consult the appropriate handbook.
- Explore additional resources.
- If you feel trapped or lost in an endless maze.
- If you’re confused about university policy.
- If you need someone to listen to your concern.
- If you are seeking informal ways to resolve the issues you face.
- If you’re not sure where to go for help.
The Ombuds Cannot:
- Advocate for an individual or group
- Provide legal advice or representation
- Assist with a non-university related concern
- Tell someone what to do
- Participate in any investigative procedures
- Engage in matters that are undergoing a formal process
- Accept formal complaints or serve as an office of notice
- Mandate policies, procedures or make binding decision