December 20, 2020

University of Mississippi Appoints Interim Ombuds; IOA and Petitioners Support Sidelined Ombuds

On Friday, UM Chancellor named William W. Berry III, the new acting University Ombuds. The permanent Ombuds, Paul Caffera, remains on administrative leave for reasons that have not been disclosed publicly or to Caffera. Berry has been a member of the faculty with the UM School of Law since 2008 and is currently chair of the University Academic Discipline Committee. Some colleagues immediately questioned whether faculty, especially from the law school, would be comfortable confiding in Berry. The Mississippi Free Press continues to be the primary source of information about the situation.

In response to these developments, the International Ombudsman Association issued a statement expressing its concerns:
IOA leadership is aware of this situation and has been in contact with IOA member Paul Caferra, the University of Mississippi Ombuds, and his lawyer. It appears that the university has not honored its obligation to respect the confidentiality of its ombuds’ communications with visitors, an issue which is of great concern to IOA and all of its members. Please be assured that IOA leadership has offered to provide Paul any support it can in this matter and will continue to monitor this situation. [¶] As a reminder to our members, if you ever have a need for consultation and support for a matter such as this, Chuck Howard, as our Executive Director, may be able to assist you.
Supporters of Caffera also started a petition on At this point, 46 people have signed the petition. (MFP "UM Appoints Acting Ombuds"; UM Faculty Profile; ;IOA Blog;


  1. Between this blog and the Mississippi Free Press articles (there are over a dozen) cataloging the dysfunction at Ole Miss (apparently bribery, back room deals to appoint a chancellor who never bothered to apply) the place sounds like an absolute flippin' mess.

  2. Ahhh, Mississippi justice. Context for what Paul Caffera is battling down in Mississippi: