The International Ombudsman Association's Board of Directors has commented on a proposed rule before the U.S. Department of Education related to the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The comment requests that the final regulations include a statement permitting colleges and universities to designate their Organizational Ombudsman as a “confidential resource,” rather than as a “responsible employee” or “campus security authority” which are required to report instances of sexual misconduct. The comment came on the last possible day and was one of 100 submitted on the issue.
Earlier this year, an ad hoc committee of the IOA Board was asked to develop recommendations with respect to policy, laws, and regulations related to Title IX, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Clery Act, and other Acts that impact the ability of Ombuds to be confidential resources. Acting on the committee's recommendations, the Board said that it decided to issue the public comment, “because the current version of VAWA does not mention Organizational Ombudsmen; this comment serves to introduce the Ombudsman profession to decision-makers and recommends that Organizational Ombudsmen be listed as confidential resources related to matters covered by VAWA.” This is only the second time that IOA has provided input to a U.S. federal agency. (IOA News; Dept of Ed Notice of Proposed Rule; IOA Comment.)
Related posts: IOA Takes Position on Proposed SEC Ombuds Program; Lessons From a Case of Sexual Harassment; Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Ombuds Offers Confidentiality for Sexual Assault Victims; Alumnus Criticizes Yale's Refusal to Create an Ombuds Office; Havard Law Case Study Focuses on Ombuds and the 'Dear Colleague Letter'; Updated Sexual Misconduct Policy at University of North Carolina Reaffirms Ombuds' Confidentiality; Grinnell College Affirms Confidentiality of Ombuds Office for Sexual Misconduct Matters.