How is the Ombuds different from other student support services on campus?
The Ombuds Office is unique in its adherence to the standards of confidentiality*, neutrality, informality and independence. We are not officially aligned with any other office, profession, perspective, or purpose on campus, and we do not take sides or make decisions.
I am having a hard time with my advisor. Is there anything I can do?
Advisor/advisee relationships can sometimes be difficult to manage. If you feel this is something you can discuss with another faculty member or your GPD, you may be able to get help there. An Ombuds can confidentially problem-solve with you, and if this is not something you feel comfortable discussing directly with your advisor or the GPD, the Ombuds may be able to help raise your concerns for you with your permission.
Where can I get help with housing or other non-academic issues that are affecting my ability to focus on my studies?
A good place to start is UMatter at UMass. Their Grad Student Guide, under Downloadable Tools, collects a great deal of helpful information in one place. It includes Student Life's Single-Stop Resources, a list of places to get assistance with housing, legal advice, health care, and other common issues affecting graduate students. If you can’t find an answer there, the Ombuds Office may be a good next step.