December 28, 2017
Ombuds Year in Review: 2017 (Part 3)
Without further ado, here are the three most important Ombuds news items of the year:
3. Posting for LSU Job Draws Most Interest and Hints at Deeper Issues -- The most viewed post of the year was an announcement in April that Louisiana State had opened a search for an Ombudsperson to restart its shuttered office. Eight months later, the position remains empty and there is no new information about the Ombuds office. A prestigious institution which once had a strong Ombuds program, surely received hundreds of applications. Then only silence. One can only guess at the politics that have derailed the process and hope that an Ombuds can once again work with stakeholders.
2. Special Interest Groups Begin Appointing Ombuds to Protect Members -- Professional associations and other special interest groups have started creating Ombuds to support and protect members who may not have any other formal mechanism to resolve conflicts. In many cases, the Ombuds are appointed to address a history of gender discrimination and sexual harassment that can occur at conferences. Recently, the following groups have appointed Ombuds: Academy of Management; Fencing Officials Commission; Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA; National Lawyers Guild; American Society of Mammalogists; American Political Science Association; History of Science Society; and Gallifrey One.
1. ETH Zurich Shuts Down Institute of Astronomy After Ombuds Warn of Bullying -- In October, one of the world's top universities entirely shut down its Institute of Astronomy after the Ombudspersons raised issues of bullying by a prominent professor. The decisive action by the Swiss institute of technology followed reports of widespread and prolonged bulling by a well-connected professor: a scenario familiar to all Ombuds who work in higher education. This is a remarkable case study and the details (but not the names of the accused faculty) were published by ETH.
Related posts: Ombuds Year in Review: 2017 (Intro); Ombuds Year in Review: 2017 (Part 1); Ombuds Year in Review: 2017 (Part 2)