What will happen when you call or visit?

What Will Happen When You Call, Email or Visit

We will listen to your concerns or suggestions and will brainstorm issues, options, and possible outcomes with you. You may decide that you would like just to think things over. You may decide to handle a concern on your own or you might ask us to make an informal call about the issue of concern. If we agree to make a call, we would discuss with you whether this seems like an effective option.

We can serve as shuttle diplomats or mediators. We can help you bring information to the attention of appropriate individuals. We would be happy to talk with you about Brown University policies, to refer you to relevant line and staff managers and to discuss formal options for resolving complaints. We keep no permanent written records of confidential communications.

The Brown Ombudsperson will not answer questions about you or anyone with whom we may have spoken.  We will not 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, you give us 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 the 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, in those situations information may need to be shared.

The office is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to Noon.  You can, however, call 401.863.6145  or email ombuds@brown.edu at any time. Messages are checked regularly.  You may provide information, and also tell us how to reach you, or you may choose to remain anonymous. You may make a telephone appointment or you may meet in person. If you would like an appointment, and we are not immediately available, leave a message and we will contact you as soon as possible. Ordinarily we can schedule an appointment within 48 hours.  If you wish to remain anonymous, suggest a few times that you might call or drop by, and the ombudsperson will try to be in the office.

The Brown University Ombudsperson does not conduct formal investigations, adjudicate, arbitrate, or serve as witnesses in any administrative or legal proceedings either at Brown or elsewhere. As a matter of policy, Brown does not call the Brown Ombudsperson to disclose confidential communications or to serve as witnesses.

Since the Office is made available to all members of the Brown faculty and postdoc community as a purely voluntary and “alternate” channel of communication, those people who use the program also will be considered to have agreed to abide by these principles of confidentiality. Accordingly, it is inappropriate for anyone to seek to compel an Ombuds to disclose confidential communications. See also Principles.