September 29, 2014

Task Force Recommends Ombuds for Student-Athletes at Berkeley

A task force looking into low graduation rates for football players at the University of California, Berkeley has recommended the appointment of an Ombuds specifically for student-athletes along with dozens of other changes.  Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and interim Director of Athletics Mike Williams that they were ready to embrace all of the proposals.   

The task force explained why student-athletes need an Ombuds and offered suggestions for implementation:
Ombudsperson: Engage all relevant partners to discuss the situation regarding an expressed need on the part of student-athletes for an ombudsperson -­‐ perhaps one in the Student Affairs Ombudsperson Office. This need was raised consistently and adamantly by those student-athletes in our Focus Groups, who felt that there is not an entity in place that could legitimately address concerns of the student-athletes. This position should not be in either Intercollegiate Athletics of the Athletic Study Center; it needs to be fully independent of both units to ensure that there are no biases that may impact the student(s’) ability to be heard or receive due process. By addressing this topic now we might avoid the critiques that routinely arise: the community asking who speaks for the athletes; and/or learning after-the-fact that athletes had issues and did not know to whom or where to go when there does need to be someone who is both independent and knowledgeable about potential situations facing student-athletes.
(Chancellor’s Task Force on Academics & Athletics, Final Report; Berkeley Athletics News; Daily Californian.)

Related posts: Berkeley Staff Ombuds Upgrades Website; UC Berkeley Staff Ombuds Says Financial Worries are Impacting Caseload; Profile of Berkeley's Staff Ombuds; UC Berkeley Staff Ombuds Posts Biennial Report; University of California President Endorses Ombuds Offices

Also: Psychologist Urges Ombuds as Buffer for Student Athletes; Michigan State to Appoint Ombuds for Student AthletesRecent Conflicts Highlight Role of Kidsports Ombuds; NCAA President Suggests Role for Ombuds; University of Utah Appoints Ombuds for Student Athletes; Sports Conflict Institute TV Explores How an Ombuds Might Help in SportsPAADS Athlete Development Summit to Feature Ombuds.

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