December 13, 2011

Past and Present Ombuds Defend University of Iowa Office

Lois Cox, the former UI Faculty Ombudsperson wrote an editorial that was published by the Iowa City Press Citizen on Friday, December 9. Cox responded directly to recent criticism that the Office of the Ombudsperson failed to sufficiently resolve cases of bullying.

Cox, who was the Faculty Ombuds in 1997-98 and 2008-2009, said:
I recall how much I had to learn when I began the work, and how the responses I had learned as a lawyer had to change. The work of an ombudsperson is quite different from the advocacy for a client practiced by lawyers. By viewing the statistics kept by the office through a win/loss lens, the news article disparages the office for the very informality that is its strength and its hallmark.
On December 13, the Press Citizen also published a letter from the current UI Ombuds, Susan Johnson and Cynthia Joyce. They explained that their mission is two-fold: "To provide informal conflict management in individual situations[;] And to bring systemic issues to the attention of relevant university leaders when we can do so without compromising confidentiality." They invited readers to learn more about the Office. (Press Citizen Cox Editorial, Johnson/Joyce Letter.)

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