Where is the office and do I need an appointment?
The Ombuds Office is located in the basement of Safford Hall, Room 5 and is open for visitors on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm and by appointment. While walk-in visitors are always welcome, arranging a time to meet will ensure that the Ombudsperson is available will allow you to pick a day and time that works best with your schedule.
What happens if I email you?
The Ombudsperson strives to maintain confidentiality* with all visitors. Because email is not a confidential form of communication we will encourage visitors not to use email as the primary method of communication. The Ombuds Office will respond to emails with a request to schedule a time to speak in person or by phone whenever possible.
What happens if I call or come into the office?
The Ombudsperson will listen to your concerns and help you clarify your thoughts, feelings and goals while assisting you in creating strategies for resolving the problem even if you are not planning to take any further action. We can discuss ways for you to address your issues on your own or at your request, we can make informal inquires about your concerns. In making inquiries on your behalf the Ombudsperson will make every effort not to disclose information that can identify you as a party to our inquire without your consent. The Ombudsperson can find the answers to your questions or refer you to someone who can. We can provide other helpful services offered by the office including coaching, facilitated conversation and group facilitation. While we have no direct authority to change Mount Holyoke College policy, we can recommend administrative policy changes that support equity and help College departments and offices address frequently occurring concerns.
The power of the Office of the Ombuds rests in our ability to listen and inform; we do not conduct formal investigations or make official recommendations. We do not adjudicate, arbitrate or participate in any formal internal process and the Ombudsperson will resists testifying in any formal process outside of the organization regarding a confidential information communicated to the Ombudsperson even if given permission or requested to do so**.
*There are exceptions to the pledge of confidentiality. Please see the “Guiding Principles” section below for more information.
** Please note that the Office of the Ombuds is a voluntary service and is meant to supplement, not replace other administrative processes. By choosing to use the Office you are agreeing to the principles of the Office as reflected in the “Guiding Principles and Standards of Practice,” (a summary of the principles will be provided to you at the beginning of your visit to the office and the complete version can be accessed at the link below).
Guiding Principles and Standards of Practice of the Ombuds Office
The Mount Holyoke Ombudsperson is a trained and certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner (CO-OP) and a member of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) practicing in accordance with the IOA Code of Ethics (Adobe PDF Download-posted January 2007) and IOA Standards of Practice (Adobe PDF Download- posted October 2009).