October 03, 2012

Update: University of California Report on Protest Policies Reaffirms Role of Ombuds

After student protests at UC campuses drew national attention in November 2011, the UC Office of the President commissioned a review of its police and protest management policies. A final version of the report acknowledges the role of the campus Ombuds offices, but downplays their ability to serve as a resource during such protests.

One section of the report discusses the recommendation that the UC use mediators during campus protests.  A footnote addresses the suggestion that Ombuds serve in this capacity:

We also spoke with ombudspeople from across our system to discuss the role they might play in a protest situation. They emphasized to us their strong view that it would be inappropriate to assign ombudspeople a formal role as mediators in protest situations. They thought that acting as mediators would frequently be inappropriate and inconsistent with the fundamental tenets of the work they do. For example, they said that it was important for ombudspeople to work in a confidential setting, where they are viewed as a neutral resource. In a protest situation, they feared that their work could not be confidential, and that they might be viewed as an agent of the Administration. They did suggest, however, that ombudspeople might serve as an informal resource to those involved in protest situations. Mar. 20, 2012 Meeting with UC Ombudspeople. 
The UC Campus Ombuds were identified as: Michele Bernal, Berkeley; Sunny Lee, Berkeley; Bridget Regan, Berkeley; J. Michael Chennault, Irvine; Katherine [sic] Canul, Los Angleles; Thomas Griffin, Los Angeles; Katy Kolodziejski, Los Angeles; Tom Kosakowski, Los Angeles; Andrew Larratt-Smith, Riverside; Judith Bruner, San Diego; Nancy James, San Diego; Randy Daron, San Francisco; Kirsi Aulin, Santa Barbara; Bill Forgie, Santa Barbara; Priscilla Mori, Santa Barbara; and Laurie McCann, Santa Cruz.  The University of California also recently settled the claims of students who were pepper-sprayed during a protest at UC Davis. (Chronicle of Higher Ed; Robinson-Edley Report.)

Prior post: University of California Draft Response to Campus Violence Recognizes Role of Ombuds.


  1. Jen Sims- Staff Ombuds- UT Austin10/04/2012 9:01 AM

    how do you UC Ombuds feel about this? I wonder about my role here at UT Austin in these types of instances...

  2. The footnote reflected the consensus of the participating UC ombuds.