June 25, 2020

Organizers Cancel In-Person 2020 Cal Caucus

Due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, the leaders of the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds have decided not to hold an in-person event this year. The move follows similar decisions by other Ombuds organizations including the IOA, IOI, and USOA. 

Here's the full text of the email announcement sent to members:

June 24, 2020

JIOA Article: Securing the Ombuds Office Through Upward Feedback

A new article in the peer-reviewed Journal of the International Ombudsman Association looks at the role of Ombuds as they serve as change agents for their organization. The authors, Susan S. Raines and Tavia Harrison, developed their findings together at Kennesaw State University, where Raines is a& Professor of Conflict Management and Harrison is completing her Master of Science in Conflict Management. ;The full article, "Overcoming Groundhog Day: Changing Organizational Culture while Institutionalizing the Ombudsman Role," is now available online.

June 22, 2020

IOA Publishes Guidance for Ombuds During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The International Ombudsman Association has published a memo addressing COVID-19 and how contract tracing may affect Ombuds practices. IOA Executive Director, Chuck Howard, was responding to inquiries from Association members, but the memo was posted on the IOA blog, which is open to the public.

Pitt School of Medicine Agrees to Black Students' Petition for Reforms, Promises Ombuds

Last Thursday afternoon, the Dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine agreed to a wide range of demands from Black students. Over 400 students had signed a petition seeking changes such as scholarships for Black students to additional support staff to reforming curriculum and policies. According to an email obtained by The Pitt News, Anantha Shekhar, the Senior Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and the School’s Dean, agreed to many of the demands, including the appointment of an Ombudsperson.

June 18, 2020

Asia Society’s 2020 Symposium to Feature UN and Chevron Ombuds

The Asia Society’s 2020 Global Talent, Diversity and Inclusion Virtual Symposium includes two prominent Ombuds as speakers: Shireen Dodson, United Nations Ombudsman, and Sana Manjeshwar, Global Principal Ombuds Manager, Chevron Corp. The two-day event next week

June 17, 2020

First Ombuds Named at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences

Usman Asghar has been appointed the first Studentombud for H?gskolen I Innlandet, a public technical university in Norway. Ashgar will work with about 12,000 students across six campuses. His office has four values: independent, neutral, accommodating (im?tekommende), and confidential.

June 16, 2020

Harvard Grad Students Complete Consultation with University of Cincinnati Ombuds

This spring, two students in the Dispute Systems Design Clinic at the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program conducted an external review of the University of Cincinnati Ombuds Office. Peter Daniels and Katie Cordova conducted a "rigorous review of the office’s functions, its perceived effectiveness, and its reputation with campus stakeholders" to help the UC Ombuds Office advance its strategic goals following the appointment of a new director, Kim Fullbright.

Mary Rowe on What Employees Need Now

Rowe, a former Ombuds at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and adjunct professor at the Institute's School of Management, recently offered her thoughts on "one critical action or change that could improve the lives of working people in the United States during and after the COVID-19 pandemic." Not surprisingly, she said that employees need more say in the conditions they face in returning to work and that Ombuds are critical.

June 09, 2020

Long-Time Ombuds Retires from University of Western Ontario

Anita Pouliot, who was the Assistant Ombudsperson at Western for over two decades, retired last month. In addition to her work as the Ombuds for the public university with 25,000 students, Pouliot was a leader and key volunteer with the Association of Canadian College and University Ombuds. She helped create ACCUO create its first website in 1999 and served on many committees. Currently, Pouliot is the association's Treasurer and Archivist. 

June 08, 2020

ICRC Selects First Ombuds for Middle East and North Africa

The International Committee of the Red Cross has appointed Waged Jafer as its first Regional Ombuds for the Middle East and North Africa Region. In the position, Jafer is one of five full-time Ombuds who collaborate with more than 60 Ombuds Relays to serve 19,000 ICRC colleagues. Jafer will be based in Dubai and serve a three-year term.

Lakehead University Names Experienced Ombuds to Interim Position

Kim Morgan has stepped in as the Interim Ombudsperson for the public university in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She retired earlier this year after serving as the Ombudsperson at Confederation College for 12 years. Morgan follows Rob Thompson who moved to Camosun College in March. (Lakehead Ombuds.)

Interior Dept Ombuds to Speak at IACM 2020 Conference

Two Ombuds from the U.S. Department of the Interior will speak at the 33rd Annual Conference of the International Association for Conflict Management, which will be held online July 12-15, 2020. William Hall and Mary Chavez Rudolph from the DOI's Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution will give a session: "Did The Ombuds do It?: Evaluating Organizational Ombuds Services At The U.s. Department of The Interior."

June 04, 2020

IOA Calls for Fairness and Justice

Today, the International Ombudsman Association released a statement to its members in response to the protests following the killing of George Floyd. The letter by IOA Board President, Melanie Jagneaux, has been posted to the association's (now public) blog, The Independent Voice.

Cal Caucus Releases Statement on Black Lives Matter

Yesterday, the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds released a statement on Black Lives Matter. Here's the full text of what was sent in an email to members:

June 02, 2020

ENOHE to Host Online Forum to Discuss Pandemic Strategies

The European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education will host an online conversation to consider the effects of COVID-19 on universities and the work of Ombuds. The free Zoom meeting, "Comparing Concerns in COVID-times," will take place on June 10, 202 at 15:00-16:30 CET.