The private, for-profit coeducational liberal arts university owned by Bridgepoint Education has announced that it is closing the Ombuds Office it opened three years ago. To replace the Ombuds program, Ashford will open a Student Dispute Resolution Center on April 1, 2011. The new resource will provide, "expedited informal resolutions, confidential facilitated negotiation services and a formal grievance process."
The university says that the current Ombuds (Michael Kilpatrick and Jen Graf Sims) are working to close or refer their cases. The implication is that neither will transition to the new Student Dispute Resolution Center. As Ashford's first Ombuds, Kilpatrick was responsible for revising the formal mandate of the office to bring it within IOA standards. This is the second Ombuds office closure that Graf has endured -- she was previously an Ombuds at the University of Hawaii. (Ashford Student Dispute Resolution Center.)