Several weeks ago, the California Institute of Technology announced that it was laying off 100 employees due to economic concerns over its endowment and alumni contributions. (San Gabriel Valley Tribune.) In an email today, the Institute’s Ombuds, Ornah Becker, revealed that her office would be shuttered by the cuts effective April 2.
In 1995 Caltech’s Ombuds, Helen Hasenfeld, was at the center of the historic Garstang case. That decision by the California Appellate Court recognized a qualified privilege for an Organizational Ombuds under the State’s constitutional right of privacy. The case remains a touchstone for Ombuds seeking to protect the confidentiality of communications with visitors. In addition to Hasenfeld, the Caltech Ombuds position was also held by Jan Schonauer, past president of IOA.
There is no indication that the closure is temporary. Moreover, with the demise of the Pepperdine Ombuds program, this marks the second Southern California office to close this year.
Related posts: Congress Shuts Down CDC Ombuds Office; California Decimates Long Term Care Ombuds Program; Ombuds Can Help Minimize Effects of Layoffs; City of Flint Ombuds Shuttered by Budget Cuts; Pepperdine University Ombuds Retiring.