The Ombuds Office adheres to the International Ombudsman Association’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics as well as Northeastern’s Statement of Values. There are four key principles that guide the work of the Ombuds: Confidentiality, Informality, Impartiality, and Independence.
The Ombuds Office is confidential. The promise of confidentiality helps create a safe place for visitors to freely voice concerns. The Ombuds will not identify you or discuss your concerns with anyone unless you give your permission during the course of your informal discussions with the Ombuds and the Ombuds agrees that such disclosure is an appropriate option. The only exceptions to confidentiality are when the ombuds believes there is an imminent risk of serious harm, suspects child abuse or neglect, or is compelled by a court.
All conversations with the Ombuds are voluntary, informal, off-the-record, and do not serve as legal notice to Northeastern of a problem. This also means that the Ombuds does not keep permanent records for the University, conduct investigations, participate in formal grievances or complaints, or serve as a witness. There may be times when the Ombuds takes notes, but the notes are shredded when the Ombuds is finished working with you, if not before.
The Ombuds is a designated impartial person and will not take sides in any conflict, dispute or issue. The Ombuds will impartially consider the interests and concerns of everyone involved in a situation with the aim of facilitating communication and assisting people in reaching mutually acceptable agreements that are fair and equitable, and consistent with the mission and policies of the University. The Ombuds can act as an advocate for fairness.
The Ombuds has sole discretion on managing the day to day-to-day operations of the Ombuds Office and over how to act regarding individual matters or systemic concerns. Reporting directly to the president for administrative purposes only, the Ombuds operates outside the primary University structure. This allows the Ombuds to work free from pressure or influence that could interfere with addressing your concerns.
The Ombuds Office is in the process of finalizing an official Charter/Policy. The purpose of the Charter/Policy is to formally define the standards of practice, privileges, responsibilities, and limitations on the authority of the Ombuds and the Ombuds Office. Once the Charter/Policy is finalized, a copy will be made available on the website.