April 03, 2013

Iowa State University Enacts Charter for Ombuds Office

ISU President Steven Leath has signed a charter for the Ombuds Office that was established in 2008. The document does not change the role of function of the program, but as Ombuds Officer Elaine Newell explains, "It affirms the confidentiality and independence of the ombuds office and is a statement of the university's support for early and informal effort in conflict management and resolution."

As is typical, the charter states that the office follows IOA standards.  Moreover, the charter is unique in its references to applicable state and federal laws and regulations. With regard to confidentiality it states:
For example, mediation communication is usually privileged and not subject to discovery or admissible in evidence (§ 679C.104, Iowa Code 2011).  In addition, student matters, personnel matters, and mediation communications remain confidential under the Open Records Act (§§ 22.7.1, 22.7.11 and 22.7.37, Iowa Code 2011). 
With regard to recordkeeping it states:
The Ombuds Office does not maintain "Educational Records" as that term is defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. 1232g).
The charter was signed February 27, 2013.  (ISU Announcements; ISU Ombuds Charter.)

Related posts: Profile of Iowa State OmbudsIowa State University Ombuds and Librarian Create Online Conflict Guide for Staff; Iowa State University Ombuds Posts Report for 2011Iowa State University Ombuds Sees Record Cases; Iowa State University Posts Video of Ombuds.

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