The University Ombuds is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible within the organization. As a designated neutral, the Ombuds remains unaligned and impartial. When matters involving discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking or retaliation are reported to a campus Ombuds, the Ombuds must report such incidents to the Title IX Coordinator/DHR Administrator. However, the Ombuds will not report any such matters to anyone’s supervisor or cabinet. The Ombuds does not engage in any situation which could create a conflict of interest.
What is an Ombuds Anyway?
The Ombuds can consult on all matters of concern or conflict among employees at SF State, regardless of rank, affiliation or union membership.
In keeping with the International Ombudsman Association's Code of Ethics, consultation with the University Ombuds does not constitute a formal complaint, although any of the following might be recommendations or options provided by the Ombuds:
- Individual Coaching on resolving a particular matter
- Mediation between individuals in a conflict
- Neutral facilitation of a group working through challenging issues
PRIVATE | INFORMAL | IMPARTIAL | INDEPENDENT
- No one outside the Ombuds office will know about your visit; no notes are taken; and no record of the meeting is preserved
- We may agree together that the Ombuds should reach out to other individuals or groups for clarity or assistance
- Exceptions to privacy include:
- Imminent risk or serious harm to you or others
- Matters involving discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking or retaliation are reported to the Title IX office
- Use of Ombuds services is entirely voluntary and offers an alternative or supplement to any formal university processes
- The Ombuds office is not an agent of notice; the office does not accept or participate in formal complaints or legal proceedings
- The Office does not determine fault, conduct investigations, issue recommendations, or compel anyone in any way
- We try to understand and help communicate the interests of visitors and offer a soundboard to understand next steps, but we do not:
- Take sides in disputes
- Try to help one person “win” and another” lose”
- Act as an advocate for individuals
- The Ombuds office does not represent any one interest of the university
- The Office is housed in University Enterprises but operates autonomously as much as possible
- The Ombuds has a direct line to Appropriate Administrators but
- No one instructs the Ombuds Office on courses of action
- No one will ask who came to see us or what was discussed
If, during the course of your consultation, you decide that a formal complaint is the right option for you, you can fill out a complaint form either with Human Resources or with Equity Programs and Compliance. Once a complaint is filed, the appropriate office will follow the procedure for conducting an intake interview and, if appropriate, following through with the process as outlined by our SF State policies.