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The Academic Ombud is the officer of the University charged with consideration of student grievances in connection with academic affairs. [US: 4/10/2000]


The Office of the Academic Ombud shall provide a mechanism for handling issues for which no established procedure exists or for which established procedures have not yielded a satisfactory solution. They are not intended to supplant the normal processes of problem resolution. In some cases where there is a clear need to achieve a solution more quickly than normal procedures provide, the Ombud may seek to expedite the normal processes of resolution.

Students who wish to appeal a finding of an academic offense (see SR 6.3), a penalty for an academic offense, a grade in a course, or an action in any other academic matter must confer with the Academic Ombud before they can appeal to the University Appeals Board. The procedure for appealing a finding of or a penalty for an academic offense is outlined in SR 6.4.5; the procedure for appealing a grade or another academic action is outlined below. In cases of academic offenses, the Ombud's office shall notify the appropriate parties (as described in SR 6.4.5) if a student fails to exercise his or her right of appeal within the allotted time. [US: 9/12/11] Jurisdiction

The authority of the Academic Ombud is restricted to issues of an academic nature involving students on the one hand and faculty or administrative staff on the other, explicitly governed by Sections 4, 5, 6, 7 of the University Senate Rules. However, the Ombud may refer issues falling outside their jurisdiction to appropriate offices charged with the responsibility for dealing with them, in areas such as student affairs or institutional equity. [SREC: 11/20/87]

When a problem falls partly within the Ombud's jurisdiction and partly within the jurisdiction of some other office, the Ombud shall cooperate with the relevant other office in seeking a solution. However, the Ombud's authority in effecting a solution shall extend only to those aspects of the issue falling within the jurisdiction of that office as defined in the University Senate Rules.

Jurisdictional disputes involving an Academic Ombud and other offices which cannot be resolved through negotiations shall be referred to the Provost. Decision to Accept a Case

When an issue to be resolved is brought to the Academic Ombud, the Ombud shall first determine if the issue falls within his or her jurisdiction, as defined by the University Senate Rules. If it does not, the Ombud shall refer the person presenting the issue to the proper authority to deal with it. If the issue does fall within his or her jurisdiction, the Ombud shall determine if efforts have been made to adjudicate the issue through normal channels and procedures. Where such channels and procedures exist and have not been utilized, the Ombud shall recommend their use, unless there is compelling evidence that they will not effectively resolve the issue.

The Academic Ombud shall investigate each issue falling within the Ombud's jurisdiction to determine:

  1. whether it contains merit;
  2. whether it is deserving of extended attention; and
  3. the priority of attention which it should be accorded by the Ombud's office.

The Academic Ombud shall notify the student directly that an issue does not contain merit. The student then has the right to appeal within 30 days to the University Appeals Board. Upon receipt of the written appeal, the chair of the Appeals Board shall notify the Academic Ombud to forward all reports and evidence concerning the case. The Appeals Board may then by majority vote agree to hear the student's case or to allow the Academic Ombud's decision to be final. Statute of Limitations

The Academic Ombud is empowered to hear only those grievances directed to their attention within 180 days subsequent to the conclusion of the academic term in which the problem occurred. However, the Ombud may agree to hear a grievance otherwise barred by the Statute of Limitations in those instances where (1) the Ombud believes that extreme hardship including but not limited to illness, injury, and serious financial or personal problems gave rise to the delay or (2) all parties to the dispute agree to proceed. [US: 2/11/80; US: 4/10/2000] Procedures

When the Academic Ombud determines that an issue merits the Ombud's attention, the Ombud shall contact the parties involved to determine the background of the issue and areas of disagreement. With this information in hand, the Ombud shall seek to determine alternative means of achieving an equitable resolution and propose to the conflicting parties those solutions which appear to offer the greatest promise of mutual satisfaction. Normally the investigatory and mediation activities shall be conducted informally and need not involve confrontation of the conflicting parties. However, the more formal procedures and direct confrontation of the parties involved may be utilized if circumstances dictate that these will produce a more effective resolution.

If the mediation efforts are unsuccessful, the Academic Ombud shall refer the case to the University Appeals Board in writing if the complainant wishes to pursue the issue. At the request of the Appeals Board, the Ombud shall appear before it to offer testimony or shall prepare a written report of the case. Liaison

The Academic Ombud shall maintain close liaison with University officers in the area of student affairs and the area of institutional equity and other such officials who have responsibility and concern for the academic governance of students. However, the Ombud shall not violate the rights of students or other parties involved in cases brought to the Ombud through the disclosure of any information communicated in confidence. Records and Reports

The Academic Ombud shall retain a record of all cases which are accepted. In cases involving discrimination (including sexual harassment), a summary of the case shall be sent to the Associate Vice President for Institutional Equity. [US: 4/11/83] The Ombud shall review all files at the end of the term of office and should destroy any file of a case which has been resolved which is five years of age or older. If not destroyed, then all names should be removed. The decision not to destroy a file ought to be based on criteria such as resolution which might serve as a precedent for similar cases in the future. All unresolved cases which are more than one year old and which were never forwarded to the Appeals Board shall be destroyed. The Ombud shall present annually a report of activities to the University Senate, the Student Government Association and the Provost of the University and may offer recommendations for changes in rules, practices or procedures to the end of achieving more harmonious and effective governance of student academic affairs. [US: 2/14/94] (See SR 6.4.8.)

At the request of the Senate Council, the Ombud shall prepare reports or submit recommendations on specific matters.

The Ombud may report directly to the Senate Council or the Provost, Student Government Association, Deans, Department Chairs, or other appropriate persons on problems which the Ombud feel deserve their early attention.


As established by the University Senate Rules, the Academic Ombud must be a tenured member of the University Faculty or a member of the emeriti faculty. [US: 4/9/90] Beyond this the qualifications should be those which will permit the Academic Ombud to perform the functions of the office with fairness, discretion and efficiency. It is important that the person be regarded by students as one who is genuinely interested in their welfare and sympathetic to their problems. It is equally important that the person be temperate in judgment, judicious in action, and persistent in seeking to achieve prompt and equitable solutions to the problems which are brought to the Ombud. Frequently the success of the Ombud depends upon their ability to utilize informal channels of communication and action; therefore, that person should be one able to develop and maintain cordial personal relations with a wide variety of students, faculty and members of the administrative staff. Above all, the person must be one of unquestionable integrity and resolute commitment to justice.

6.2.3 SELECTION PROCEDURE Search Committee

The Chair of the Senate Council, with the advice of the Senate Council members, shall appoint a Search Committee consisting of the following members: 1) two University Faculty members; 2) three students, two undergraduates and one a graduate or professional student, chosen by the Student Government Association; and 3) a member designated by the Provost who shall serve as Chair of the Search Committee. Committee members shall be broadly representative of the University community. [US: 4/10/2000]

The Search Committee shall solicit nominations from students, faculty and administrators, and shall nominate no more than three candidates to the Provost [US: 4/10/2000] In case of office being vacated

Should the office of the Academic Ombud be vacated prior to the expiration of the normal term of office, a new appointment shall be made to fill the unexpired term using the same procedures as described above. [US: 4/10/2000] Reappointment

The Academic Ombud may be reappointed to a second term without reference to the above selection procedures if the affected Ombud, the Provost, and the Senate Council all concur. Reappointment to a third term shall go through the normal search process as outlined above. [US: 4/12/2004]


The term of office for the Academic Ombud shall be twelve months beginning July 1.

The regular academic duties shall be reduced during each Ombud's period in office, normally by one-half; but the exact proportion may be more or less, as agreed upon by each Ombud and their department chair.

The portion of service devoted to the duties of Academic Ombud shall be separately evaluated from their other academic duties for purposes of merit evaluation by the Provost and shall be proportionately weighed in assigning an over-all merit rating.

The conditions of employment will be negotiated through the Office of the Provost or through other channels designated by the Provost.