Ombuds Principles

The Office of the Ombudsperson follows the principles of multipartiality, independence, and confidentiality in all its dealings.


The ombudsperson does not act as an advocate for any side in a dispute, but strives to consider and fairly present all sides of a situation. The goal of multipartiality is to give all participants the means and opportunity to tell their stories.


The Ombuds Office is separate from Oberlin's other administrative and judicial functions. Operationally, the ombudsperson is under the Office of Communications and reports only to the president of the college, providing information on general patterns or emerging trends. This information never includes details that could identify individuals' confidential information.


The ombudsperson keeps no formal written records. The ombudsperson does not discuss complaints without the consent of the complainant, nor does the ombudsperson offer information about people who have or have not visited the office. All dealings are completely confidential; the only exceptions are if there is imminent harm to the visitor, to others, or to the welfare of the institution, or in situations where the law requires the matter to be reported.

Because the ombudsperson's services are informal, they can supplement, but not replace, the college's formal grievance procedures.