The Oberlin College office of the Ombudsperson was established in 2000 by President Nancy Dye to help improve the quality of discourse on campus by providing individuals with tools to resolve conflict, solve problems, and communicate more effectively with others. This purpose aligns well with the College’s intention to “foster academic and musical excellence in an equitable and inclusive educational environment.”
The office is available to assist faculty, staff, students, and other community members who seek guidance in addressing the range of issues that can occur in a college community. The Oberlin College ombuds office provides confidential, impartial/multipartial and informal services that supplement, but do not replace, other administrative processes at the college. The office works to facilitate communication and assist visitors in developing strategies to address challenges with which they struggle, with emphasis on supporting fair and equitable process at the college. The ombuds office also reports general trends of issues and provides feedback throughout the organization, and advocates systems change when appropriate without disclosing confidential communications.
The ombuds office operates in accordance with the International Ombudsman Association Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. These tenets require ombuds offices to function independently of the organization, to be confidential and neutral, and to offer only informal services. The IOA Standards and Code delineate minimum standards, and the Oberlin College ombuds office shall strive to use “best practices” and to operate the ombuds office in a way that serves the mission of the college.