The Ombuds Office offers a safe place for any member of the Columbia community to discuss workplace issues, interpersonal conflict, academic concerns, bureaucratic runarounds, and many other problems. You can speak freely to us because we promise to keep our discussions confidential, and we are not part of any formal University process. We don't take sides in disputes and operate independently of the Columbia administration, reporting only to the president.
Authority of the Ombuds Office
We have the authority to contact senior officers of the University, to gather information in the course of looking into a problem, to mediate or negotiate settlements to disputes, to bring concerns to the attention of those in authority, and to attempt to expedite administrative processes. Also, although we do not have the power to change University rules or policies, we can make recommendations for change to those with the authority to implement them.
Often our recommendations are based on perceived trends. While we do not keep records of specific complaints or problems, we do keep track of general statistical patterns and bring concerns to the attention to those with the authority to make institutional improvements. These data may signal emerging issues, indicate new trends, highlight vulnerable groups of students or employees, or suggest areas of improvement. Our data collection never includes details that could identify individuals' confidential information.
What We Do
Our responses are tailored to the individual's situation and informed consent, so we may:
The Ombuds Office keeps anonymous aggregate statistics of the types of concerns received in the office and periodically conveys perceived issues and trends to senior administrators.
What We Do Not Do
We will try our best to assist you, but there are some things we do not do: