The University of California has published a draft report by General Counsel Charles Robinson and Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley in response to clashes between university police and campus demonstrators. The Robinson-Edley Report aims to provide guidance to campuses for facilitating robust discourse while also protecting the health and safety. The draft report recommends the adoption of formal mediation programs, but excluded Ombuds from this role.
Solicited for input, 16 Ombuds from eight UC campuses said should not mediate campus protests:
We also spoke with ombudspeople from across our system to discuss the role they might play in a protest situation. They emphasized to us their strong view that it would be inappropriate to assign ombudspeople a formal role as mediators in protest situations. They thought that acting as mediators would frequently be inappropriate and inconsistent with the fundamental tenets of the work they do. For example, they said that it was important for ombudspeople to work in a confidential setting, where they are viewed as a neutral resource. In a protest situation, they feared that their work could not be confidential, and that they might be viewed as an agent of the Administration. They did suggest, however, that ombudspeople might serve as an informal resource to those involved in protest situations. Mar. 20, 2012 Meeting with UC Ombudspeople. (Fn. 197, at p. 61.)
Sixteen Ombuds from eight campuses participated in the meeting. Public comments on the draft report are being solicited through May 25. (UC Campus Protest Report.)
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