Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly does an Ombuds do?
An Ombuds is a person whose function within an organization is to help solve problems, operating not as an advocate for individuals or the institution, but as a proponent for fairness of outcomes. The Ombuds is a neutral party. The responsibility of the Office of the Ombuds at Florida Atlantic University is to assist students in addressing concerns that established processes and procedures have not resolved. Depending on the nature of a problem, and prior attempts at resolution, the Ombuds offers guidance, advice, interpretation, and review.

The Ombuds will:
  • Listen to you
  • Be Impartial
  • Answer your Questions
  • Analyze Your Situation
  • Explain University Policies, Procedures, and Problem-Solving Channels
  • Develop Options
  • Assist you in pursuing a Resolution
  • Campaign for Fairness of outcomes
Is there anything you cannot do?

The Ombuds WILL NOT:

  • Replace or circumvent existing channels
  • Direct any University office to change a decision
  • Offer legal advice
  • Make decisions for you
  • Have a stake in outcomes
  • Exact judgment
  • Impose penalties
  • Set aside rules and regulations

The Ombuds does not advocate for either party.
The office cannot assist you if you have sought legal counsel.
Why should you use our services?
The Ombuds has access to people, records, and services that most students do not, and using this access will do everything possible to reach some form of resolution of your problem. Although we cannot always promise the outcome you want, we guarantee that we will listen, seek all pertinent facts, and be completely impartial in our attempts to settle the issue. If the outcome is not what you had hoped for, a complete explanation as to why a different resolution was called for will be given.
When should you visit the Ombuds's office?
The time to visit the Ombuds is when established processes and procedures have failed to resolve an issue to your satisfaction when a decision affecting you is given without explanation, when the decision-making process appears to be stalled, or when you need help in just getting things started on the road to resolution. Sometimes simply having the correct information is all that one really needs to solve a problem.
Will you tell anyone I was in your office?
All interactions with the Office of the Ombuds are strictly confidential except in cases where:  there is consent by the visitor, concern about imminent harm to the visitor or another, or it is a legal requirement.
What types of things can I talk to you about?
The usual areas of concern include:

  • Academic Problems
  • Cultural Conflicts
  • Grade Appeals
  • Financial Concerns
  • Housing Issues
  • Testing Procedures
  • Parking Problems
  • Fear of Retaliation
Any Many More!
Do I have to bring copies of anything to your office?
As an independent agent of the University, accountable to the President, the Ombuds has the right to access information from and raise questions with, any office in the institution. Certainly, you should bring any supporting personal documentation that contributes to your case, however, because this is an informal office, your materials will not be retained.
Do you change rules?
The Ombuds does not order change by direct imposition of authority and does not set aside or supersede existing rules and regulations. Rather, knowledge of the facts of a situation, plus reason, persuasion, and familiarity with the system have proven adequate to resolve those problems in which a mistake was made, where a practice was applied unfairly, or where the poor judgment was exercised in reaching a decision.


Other Helpful Resources