Office of Ombudsperson

How the Office Works

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


The office is separate from Oberlin’s other administrative and judicial functions. The ombudsperson reports to the Office of the President of the college.


The ombuds and mediators do not participate in formal proceedings internal or external to the college. Because the ombuds’ services are informal, they are a supplement to, and not a replacement for, the college’s formal processes.


The ombuds and YBCD mediators and facilitators do not advocate for either side in a dispute, we strive to consider and fairly present all sides of a situation. The ombuds is a professional neutral who works to listen to all voices and advocates for fair process.


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 confidential, except in cases where 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.*

First meeting with the ombudsperson

At the initial appointment, visitors to the office will have the opportunity to learn about the ethics and standards of the ombuds profession, the relationship of the center for dialogue, and the services provided by both. The ombuds will listen to what situation has prompted the visitor to come and will ask questions that will help the visitor to assess what services might be helpful. During this conversation, the ombuds might refer a visitor to another campus resource that might be more appropriate, or the visitor might express interest in one or more informal services provided by the office or the center.

If the visitor is considering several service options the ombuds will ask questions to help the visitor assess what might be the most suitable option. Then the visitor may arrange for a subsequent meeting to begin work on their goal(s).

The ombuds and volunteer YBCD mediators and facilitators do not maintain records for the college. We may take notes for the sake of memory during the process of helping (an) individual(s) with problem solving, option generation, or conflict resolution. When the process is complete, the notes will be destroyed.


*Matters related to federal compliance concerns and bargaining unit contracts may result in the ombudsperson using discretion to share limited information with appropriate officers of the college to protect the rights of all parties to fair process. The ombuds will inform the relevant visitors when such a discretionary decision is made and will provide the visitors the option of sharing such information themselves. In such instances, the ombudsperson will only share visitor information with officers of the college who have a need to know in order to support the rights of all parties to fair process.

To schedule an appointment to seek confidential, impartial, and informal assistance from the ombudsperson or YBCD please contact the ombudsperson, Kimberly Jackson Davidson for an initial appointment.

It is always best to call for an appointment. Between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. call 440-775-6728. If the ombuds is not available, please leave your name and phone number only. The ombuds will contact you as soon as possible. Outside of business hours call 440-935-5496.

The ombuds does not provide emergency service. If you have an emergency situation you believe needs immediate attention, please contact Campus Safety at 440-775-8444 or 440-775-8911.

If you have an urgent situation involving a student you believe can wait until the next business day, you may submit a Student Help And Resource Exchange (SHARE) Referral Form online.

If you prefer to arrange an appointment via e-mail, please send to Limit the message to your name and contact information. If you choose to share more information, remember that email is not reliable as a confidential means of communication.