January 22, 2021

Chuck Howard Dissects Controversy Over Ombuds Confidentiality at University of Mississippi

The Mississippi Free Press has published an op-ed on the recent controversy at Ole Miss, "A Matter Of Trust: UM Controversy Shows How Ombuds Programs Should, Shouldn’t Function, Expert Argues." Chuck Howard, Executive Director of the International Ombudsman Association, focuses on how Ombuds protects the promise of confidential communications with their visitors. Howard explains that the Ombuds and their organization must protect this confidentiality even if the Ombuds is removed:
While an organization may eliminate an ombuds program, an organization should not be allowed to do so retroactively by ignoring or undermining an established charter. Certainly, someone who spoke in confidence with an ombuds (as provided in the charter) may justifiably claim to have relied on that promise of confidentiality.
Similarly, the ombuds, in accordance with the charter, should also expect the organization to honor its promises concerning confidentiality. Once visitors and the ombuds have relied on these provisions, an organization should be precluded from refusing to honor its commitments to those who have already relied on them.
Meanwhile, an anonymous Twitter account is reporting that Interim UM Ombuds is requiring potential visitors to use their university email to contact him. (MFP Voices; Twitter Winston Smith.)


  1. Nothing like demanding people identify themselves to build trust.

  2. A new development: