A committee appointed to review how UGA handles student and staff harassment complaints says that a flawed Ombuds Office established two years ago is not helping the campus. "By not providing a properly constituted (ombudsman program), UGA is failing to uncover and address the full extent of sexual harassment on campus," said the special committee appointed by UGA's University Council.
Most of the criticism, however, seemed aimed at the UGA Equal Opportunity Office, which supervises the Ombuds Office. (As this blog pointed out in 2008, the UGA Ombuds Office cannot keep sexual harassment cases confidential and is required to report them to the EEO Office.) The committee recommended that the university create a more independent Ombuds Office, following the lead of other Georgia colleges and universities with effective anti-harassment programs. According to the Athens Banner-Herald, the University Council's executive board is scheduled to hear a report from the study committee April 7, and then likely will forward the report on to the next meeting of the full University Council on April 21. The report has not been published by the university. (Online Athens.)
Related posts: University of Georgia Petitions for Staff Ombuds; UGA Student Newspaper Endorses Ombuds Office Proposal; UGA's New Ombuds Program Fails in Several, Critical Aspects; UGA Professors Question Independence of New Ombuds; University of Georgia to Evaluate Ombuds Program After Two Year Trial.