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UMass Amherst

Overview

"Over 12,000 served ..."

"You were patient and answered all of my questions, exactly what I needed. The Ombuds Office has been extremely helpful."

"I am incredibly happy to see that speaking up can make changes, and it wouldn't be possible without your organization. Let this be a statement of success of your office."

The Ombuds Office is available to all members of the University community to help resolve University-related conflicts impartially and without judging, rewarding, or punishing parties. Depending on the problem, the Ombuds Office informally mediates disputes, facilitates communication, explores claims of unfair treatment or erroneous procedure, listens, advises, and makes recommendations.

The Ombuds Office provides information about and referral to grievance procedures. The Office also coordinates the hearing process for academic grievances and charges of academic dishonesty.

Some of the problems for which the Ombuds Office can offer advice or assistance include:

  • course/degree requirements;
  • grade disputes;
  • grading policy and practice;
  • allegations of academic dishonesty;
  • ethics concerns;
  • sexual, racial, and other types of harassment;
  • delays in services or decisions;
  • conflicts with instructors, employers, or administrative offices;
  • roommate/coworker/classroom conflicts; and
  • other interpersonal disputes.

Records, contacts and communication are normally confidential; in unusual circumstances (which are explained to clients), rare exceptions are made if required by law. If you request assistance, your name is not used in a case investigation without your permission.

Mandate of the Ombuds Office

  • To ensure that all students and employees receive fair and equitable treatment within the UMass Amherst system.
  • To make recommendations, where appropriate, for general changes in university structures and procedures, and to stimulate discussion of wider institutional issues.

The Ombuds Office does not have the power to change rules, regulations, policies, or procedures, but rather to make recommendations to the university for changes and to help you find a resolution to your situation.

In our experience, the great majority of university faculty, staff, and students have been responsive to recommendations made by the Ombuds Office. The Ombuds Office does not take your side in a matter but rather considers all sides in an impartial way.

Independence

We are confidential, independent, and neutral. We make every effort to operate in accordance with the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics of the International Ombudsman Association, except where doing so would contradict our office charter, campus policies, or state statutes.

Office Hours:

Monday - Friday
9 am - 5 pm
and by appointment

Contact Information:
Campus Center
Room 823
UMass Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-9243
tel: (413) 545-0867
fax: (413) 545-9720
ombuds@ombuds.umass.edu