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What does the term Ombuds mean?

The Ombuds provides information on resources, policy and procedure to the students at Central Michigan University. The Ombuds is empowered to investigate concerns when all normal channels have been exhausted. The Ombuds has the right of access to university records, reports and other documents.

The Office does not assume a custodial role for formal documentation and does not testify at formal proceedings.

The Ombuds is a designated neutral party, and the organization must ask that the Ombuds surface the truth rather than defend a particular point of view.

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When should you see the Ombuds?

You feel as if you're trapped in an endless maze, running around in circles, or at the end of your rope.

You're confused about university policy.

You feel that a university policy, procedure, or regulation is unfair.

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How does the Ombuds office help?

The office operates under the principles (informal, neutral, and impartial) of the International Ombuds Association.  The Student Ombuds will:

  • Listen to your complaint.
  • Clarify university policy.
  • Answer questions concerning appropriate channels.
  • Assist with problems that have not been resolved by other offices.
  • Informally investigate your complaint if usual avenues of appeal or grievance have been exhausted.
  • Make referrals to individuals more expert in a specific concern.
  • Help define options that are available to you.
  • Recommend changes/improvements to university policy, rules, or procedures that are outdated, unclear, or ineffective.
  • Open avenues of communication.
  • Offer a safe place to discuss your concerns.

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What resources should I explore before contacting the Ombuds office?

Speak directly with the party involved with your concern and try to resolve the issue.

If you are unable to resolve the issue directly with the party involved, advance to the next level of appeal (Department Chair, Dean, Director, etc.).

Consult the appropriate Undergraduate or Graduate Bulletin.

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When is it not appropriate to involve the Ombuds office?

  • You want legal advice or legal representation. The Ombuds Officer can advise you of your rights within the university, but will not provide legal advice or represent you in a legal matter.
  • You have a non-university related disagreement or problem. The Ombuds Office will not address disputes between members of the campus community and private individuals, companies, or organizations not affiliated with Central Michigan University.
  • You want someone to advocate for you in a dispute. The Ombuds Officer is a neutral facilitator, not an advocate for either side of a dispute. The goal of the Ombuds Office is to advocate for fair process.

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What is unique about the Ombuds office?

Accessibility: The Ombuds Officer is available to students for consultation. While informally investigating a situation, the Ombuds Officer has access to all university departments and records, and can communicate with all university officials. Formal investigations for the purposes of adjudication should be done by others.

Confidentiality: Identities and concerns discussed with the Ombuds Office will not be shared with anyone else without permission, except to the extent required by law. The Ombuds Office is an informal avenue that will take into consideration the interests and concerns of all members of the CMU community. It is not a place where you give notice of wrong-doing, although the Ombuds Office can direct you to the appropriate office. The Ombuds Office will not participate in any formal grievance or appeal process.

Impartiality: The Ombuds Officer does not take sides, but considers the rights and interests of all parties involved in search for a fair resolution to the problem. The Ombuds Office does not arbitrate, adjudicate, or participate in the formal grievance process.

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How to contact the Student Ombuds office?

Call or email:

Student Ombuds
Enrollment and Student Services
ombuds@cmich.edu
(989) 774-3010

Use our online form:

Report a concern

 

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