University Ombuds FAQs


  1. What is an ombuds?
  2. How can the Office of the University Ombuds help me?
  3. What can the ombuds provide to help resolve conflict or concerns?
  4. Does the University ombuds divulge any information from confidential discussions?
  5. What is the difference between the Office of the University Ombuds and the Office of Human Resources in resolving conflicts?
  6. Why is the University ombuds important to the Syracuse University community?
  7. How do I make an appointment with the ombuds?

What is an ombuds?

Taken from the Swedish word Ombudsman, which roughly translates to “representative,” the Ombuds provides fair and equitable services and guidance to faculty, staff and graduate students. An Ombuds is often known as an “ear to the people.”

How can the Office of the University Ombuds help me?

The University ombuds provides an informal, confidential, neutral and independent resource to address concerns or questions openly without fear of retaliation or judgment from managers or peers.

The University ombuds offers the following:

  • A safe place to help faculty, staff and graduate students with matters that affect their individual experiences, including employment concerns, ethical issues and interpersonal disputes
  • Guidance with University policies and procedures
  • A range of options for each visitor, which may include simply listening, communication techniques, reframing concerns, developing options together and referrals to other offices or resources
  • Workshops and presentations to individual offices and units that can highlight conflict-resolution techniques

What can the ombuds provide to help resolve conflict or concerns?

The ombuds may take any number of steps to responsibly address concerns raised, including the following means:

  • Educating employees and graduate students on effective methods of de-escalating and resolving interpersonal conflicts
  • Referring employees and graduate students to other University offices or services
  • Coaching individuals in written and in-person communication techniques
  • Explaining or clarifying University policies
  • Assisting individuals in identifying personal goals
  • Engaging in facilitated conversations or conflict resolution

Does the University ombuds divulge any information from confidential discussions?

The University ombuds does not share any information from confidential conversations with University faculty, staff or graduate students, unless there is an “imminent risk of harm.” The ombuds does not keep any permanent records relating to confidential conversations.

The ombuds, who communicates directly with the Chancellor, provides confidential general reports to the Chancellor only to identify trends, advocates for systemic change in needed areas and shares the pulse of campus.

What is the difference between the Office of the University Ombuds and the Office of Human Resources in resolving conflicts?

The Office of the University Ombuds differs from other formal offices, such as the Office of Human Resources, the Office of Equal Opportunity Inclusion and Resolution Services, the Office of University Counsel, or Risk Management, which can investigate situations and enforce and set policies. The ombuds has no authority to take formal action in response to complaints, but will help identify formal options to help move toward resolution.

The Office of the University Ombuds does not take the place of other formal offices but is a supplemental alternative to formal processes.

Why is the University ombuds important to the Syracuse University community?

The work of the ombuds helps further promote a supportive, respectful and inclusive campus community.

How do I make an appointment with the ombuds?

Email ombuds@syr.edu or call 315.443.1087 to request a confidential appointment. Do not include any confidential information in your email. The Office of the University Ombuds is located at 111 Waverly Ave., Suite 215.