What Do We Do?
The Ombuds Office provides confidential, neutral, independent and informal assistance to faculty and postdocs at Brown who have concerns arising from or affecting their work and studies at Brown. The office is a good source of support for those in the Brown faculty and postdoc community who want to develop options for addressing a particular concern or who may wish to consider learning how to deal with issues on their own.
We listen, offer information about policies and procedures, help people identify and examine options for resolving concerns, offer education and consultation, accept suggestions and data from individuals who seek a confidential channel for surfacing responsible concerns about the University, and help to work for orderly and responsible systems change. The Brown Ombudsperson reports to the President.
The Ombuds Office does not accept formal complaints or notice for Brown. If a visitor wishes to make a record, or put Brown “on notice,” that is, to make Brown University formally aware of a particular problem, we can provide information on how to do so.
To function effectively, the Brown Faculty and Postdoc Ombuds Office and its staff must maintain the confidentiality of communications with those who use the office. Communications with the Brown Faculty and Postdoc Ombuds Office are therefore considered confidential and privileged.
Accordingly, the Brown University Ombudsperson and our staff will not answer questions about people with whom we may have spoken, or disclose an individual’s name or specific issue, with anyone outside of the Ombuds Office, unless during the course of our discussions with a visitor, we are given permission to do so for the purpose of informal conflict resolution, and if the Ombuds also agrees to attempt informal resolution. The only exception to this pledge of confidentiality is in very unusual circumstances, such as a court order, or where the ombudsperson believes that disclosure is necessary to address an imminent risk of serious harm, and all other options appear to have been exhausted, information may need to be shared.
The Ombuds Office does not keep permanent records of confidential communications. Permanent records kept by the Office include only statistical information for analyzing and reporting trends and recommendations to the Institute. All other records are regularly destroyed.
For a more complete description of how the Ombuds Office operates, see also the Ombuds Office Principles.