November 06, 2014

University of Oregon Weighing Confidentiality of Ombuds in Title IX Matters

On November the UO Senate Task Force to Address Sexual Violence and Survivor Support hosted a forum to seek input on 23 recommendations for the university.  The Task Force's recommendations included an assurance of confidentiality for the Ombuds office, which is less than a year old.

The report urged the University President to act by November 19 to provide the Ombuds office with confidentially:
According to the International Ombudsman Association, College or university ombudspersons are authorized “to confidentially receive complaints, concerns, or inquiries . . . and to listen, offer options, facilitate resolutions, informally investigate or otherwise examine these issues independently and impartially.” The ombudsperson can help resolve problems more swiftly and more equitably than grievance procedures or litigation. As such, the ombuds office is a crucial resource and an invaluable ally in efforts to create a climate in which reporting of sexual violence is perceived as safe, non-judgmental, and effective. For staff and faculty members, the ombuds office offers the only confidential service on campus and can play a key role in resolving conflicts. By providing impartial, confidential, and informal services, per the International Ombuds Association Code of Ethics, the ombuds functions as a supplement to existing resources, allowing survivors and complainants the ability to explore reporting options in an office that is independent of other responsibilities. The ability of the ombuds to operate confidentially is crucial to efforts to provide safe places for survivors and complainants to explore all options available to them without fear of their story being told before they are ready. 
(Around the O; UO Senate Task Force Report.)

Related posts:  University of Oregon Exploring Ombuds Program; University of Oregon Commits to Ombuds Program; University of Oregon Faculty Endorse Ombuds Proposal; Cost-Benefit of ADR, Including Ombuds; Job Posting; University of Oregon Appoints First Ombuds; University of Oregon Ombuds Intern Blogs Insights.

See also: Lessons From a Case of Sexual Harassment; Harvard Law Case Study Focuses on Ombuds and the 'Dear Colleague Letter'; Updated Sexual Misconduct Policy at University of North Carolina Reaffirms Ombuds' Confidentiality; Sexual Assault Report from University of Michigan Reaffirms Ombuds' Confidentiality; Grinnell College Affirms Confidentiality of Ombuds Office for Sexual Misconduct MattersUpdated Sexual Misconduct Policy at Colorado College Protects Disclosures to Ombuds; IOA Takes a Stand on Title IX Issues.; Watch Senator Question White House Title IX Expert on Role of Campus Ombuds; Revised Sexual Misconduct Policies at MIT Continue Protection of OmbudsUpdated Sexual Misconduct Policies at UC Irvine Assert Ombuds' Confidentiality.

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