July 15, 2020

Ombuds Day 2020 Resources Now Available

Materials are now online for the third annual Ombuds Day on October 8, 2020. The ABA Ombuds Committee website now has toolkit which includes sample talking points and handout materials, and resources and practice development materials for practitioners and organizations interested in starting Ombuds programs. The work this year is being led by Ken Skodacek, ABA Dispute Resolution Section, Ombuds Day Subcommittee Chair.

July 14, 2020

UC San Francisco Selects Next Ombuds Director

Following a national search, Ellen Goldstein, CO-OP was appointed the Director of the University of California San Francisco Office of the Ombuds on July 1, 2020. Goldstein has served as an Ombuds at UCSF for the past eight years with prior University experience as a facilitator, researcher, manager, and lecturer.  She has been a regular presenter at IOA and is active in CalCaucus and the University of California Ombuds network.  

Report by Ombuds at University of Cape Town Ignites Debate

In her latest annual report, UCT's Ombud, Zetu Makamandela-Mguqulwa said that she had heard many complaints of bullying by the University's Vice Chancellor. The Ombuds wrote, "A number of work-related complaints came to me during this reporting period about professional interactions with the VC where people felt bullied, silenced, undermined, rebuked and/or treated unfairly." The matter quickly escalated and drew significant press coverage in the legislative capital of South Africa.

July 13, 2020

Stan Soffin: Former Ombuds at Michigan State University

Stan Soffin, MSU's fourth University Ombudsman, passed away on July 9, 2020, at the age of 78. Soffin joined the School of Journalism faculty at Michigan State in 1968 and eventually served as the the school’s director in 1982 to 1998. He then served as the Ombuds for 13 years before he retired in 2011. 


New Ombuds at National Bureau of Economic Research Marks First Year

In July 2019, the American nonprofit that promotes and supports economic research, appointed Robyn B. Klinger as its first Ombudsperson. According to NBER's Terms of Engagement, Klinger "is a confidential, informal, independent, and neutral resource for members of the NBER community, including research affiliates, employees, conference participants, and others who spend time in the NBER’s offices." Her appointment coincided with the adoption of a new codes of conduct and policies to prevent sexual harassment.

ENOHE Posts Webinar About Pandemic Strategies

The European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education held its first webinar during the current academic year in early June 2020. A video and slides from the program are now available for anyone who may have missed the event.

July 06, 2020

BI Norwegian Business School Names First Student Ombuds

In February 2020, Europe's second largest business school, Handelshøyskolen BI, unveiled a website for its first Studentombud, Anita Tøien. She was selected for the position in October last year and will serve a student body of 20,000 across four different campuses. Tøien comes to BI after serving as a European Commission National Expert on the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Equality. Prior to that, she had been the first Student Ombuds at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science.

July 03, 2020

Healthcare Ombuds to Discuss Pandemic and Black Lives Matter for IOA Roundtable

The International Ombudsman Association has announced the next virtual program which will feature Ombuds from a range of healthcare settings. IOA's "Community Connections" series is designed to keep its members connected and provide relevant educational programming. The healthcare roundtable will take place on Zoom on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, 9:00 AM PDT / 12:00 PM EDT.

July 01, 2020

K-State President Promises Student Ombuds

In a statement yesterday, Richard Myers, President of Kansas State University, committed to creating a Student Ombudsperson Office. Myers was responding to the local Black Lives Matter protest, #BlackAtKState, and promised multiple other action steps. The campus already has an Ombuds Office for faculty and unclassified professionals, including administrators university. 

Boston Consulting Group Endorses Ombuds for an Inclusive Workforce

In an article published this week, BCG recommended that employers designate a confidential Ombuds to create a more inclusive culture. (BCG is one of the world's three largest management consulting companies.) 

Excerpt:

USOA Sets 2021 Conference in New Hampshire

The United States Ombudsman Association will hold its 41st Annual Conference on September 15-17, 2021, at the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel in New Hampshire, with pre-conference workshops September 13-14. Meanwhile, the association is continuing its work to reformat content planned for its 2020 conference for an online event. (USOA Conf Info.)

June 30, 2020

Job Posting: Global Water Partnership

The intergovernmental organization based in Stockholm, is hiring its first Ombudsperson/Mediation Specialist. The position will, "offer informal services for resolving potential disputes/conflicts arising between GWPO as an employer and GWPO’s staff, as well as between GWPO staff." In addition to employment applications, GWPO will consider proposals from consulting firms. Geographical proximity to Stockholm is preferred and services will be provided as needed.

FOIA Request Reveals Ombuds Feedback About Ole Miss Confederate Monument

On June 18, 2020, the ;Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning voted to remove a Confederate monument from the University of Mississippi campus. The decision followed years of outcry from students, faculty and others. This week an Ole Miss professor posted emails from the University Ombuds, Paul Caffera, conveying feedback from visitors to the Ombuds Office. The emails were obtained through a public records act request and posted on Twitter by James M. Thomas.

ACCUO Statement Endorses Black Lives Matter

After hearing from its members the annual general meeting on June 17, 2020, the executive committee of the Association of Canadian College and University Ombudsperson issued a Statement of Solidarity with Black Lives Matter. The statement includes recommendations for Ombuds to support anti-racist efforts.

Here is the full text:

June 29, 2020

University of Denver to Close Ombuds Program on Retirement of Jenna Brown

The private university in Colorado abruptly announced that it will discontinue its Ombuds position at the end of the June. Jenna Brown, who established the position in 1999, will retire and there are no plans to find a replacement. 

An announcement from DU's Chief of Staff recounted Brown's effective work at DU and significant professional reputation and achievements: