Guiding Principles

The UMUC Ombuds Office operates under the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the International Ombudsman Association and provides services based on the following guiding principles:

Independence

The Ombuds Office is independent of the university administration in structure, function, and appearance. The UMUC ombudsperson reports to the President’s Office for budgetary and administrative purposes only but has access to senior administrators to convey perceived issues and trends within the university. The ombudsperson does not keep records for the university and will only furnish anonymous aggregate statistical data in annual reports.

Confidentiality

The ombudsperson holds all communications with those seeking assistance in the strictest confidence allowed by law. The identity of visitors and the substance of concerns raised are not shared without consent. The only exception to maintaining confidentiality occurs in cases where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm or a threat or possibility of harm to a child or elderly individual and no other reasonable option exists.

Informality

The ombudsperson does not participate in any formal judicial or administrative procedure or investigations, issue findings, or make or overturn administrative decisions. Contact with the ombudsperson is totally voluntary and is not a required step in any UMUC grievance process or procedure.

Neutrality

The ombudsperson considers the interests of all parties involved in a situation impartially to assist them in reaching mutually acceptable agreements that are fair, equitable, and consistent with the mission and policies of UMUC. The ombudsperson does not serve as an advocate for the university or an individual.