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. We listen, ask questions and help you weigh your options. When appropriate we can offer informal mediation or facilitate communication.
The Ombuds Office is informal, meaning that your contact with us does not put the University "on notice." If you decide to pursue formal channels we can refer you to the appropriate office or procedure. We serve as a neutral "process manager" for academic grievances and charges of academic dishonesty by coordinating the associated hearing processes.
Examples of concerns for which the Ombuds Office can offer 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, supervisors, or administrative offices;
- roommate/coworker/classroom conflicts; and
- other interpersonal disputes.
If you request assistance, your name is not used without your permission. Records, contacts and communication are normally confidential; in unusual circumstances (which are explained to visitors), rare exceptions are made if required by law.
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.
We are confidential, neutral, independent, and informal. 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 violate university policy, state or federal law.