10. I didn’t know that the Office of the Ombudsperson existed.
The University of Iowa has had an Ombuds Office since 1985, and we work hard to publicize the office. Still, there are people on campus who don’t know we exist and don’t know we serve the entire University (staff, students and faculty; both sides of the river).
9. I don’t know what the Ombuds Office does.
People tend to think we only deal with major issues, but we are available to help with any issue that doesn’t fall under a collective bargaining agreement.
8. My issue is too small; the Ombuds Office only deals with crises.
We encourage visitors to call us early and often: the earlier the better and the smaller the issue the better, since we have a better chance of resolving problems that way.
7. Human Resources--or the Dean’s Office--or Equal Opportunity and Diversity--is already involved.
Not every issue needs a cast of thousands to resolve. On the other hand, the really thorny problems benefit from a meeting of experts on campus, and one of our roles is setting up such a meeting. In addition, we have a unique role to play as a confidential, neutral office specializing in problem solving.
6. I should be able to solve this on my own.
We think that many problems benefit from input from other offices on campus, including ours. In addition, we’re confidential: no one will ever know you called us.
5. I don’t believe the Ombuds Office is confidential.
Trust us, we’re confidential. We don’t talk with anyone about our visitors unless we have permission (except for future physical harm to anyone or requirements by court or law), not even our families.
4. I don’t want the way I’ve handled the situation to be “second-guessed” or criticized.
We may give you feedback about policies, procedures, and best practices, but we’re not judgmental. Call with anything, and we’ll help you figure out your options.
3. Once I call the Office of the Ombudsperson, the situation will be out of my control.
We don’t take any action without our visitor’s permission, unless someone might get hurt.
2. I don't want to "air my dirty laundry" outside of our work unit.
Sometimes an outside, neutral perspective can help. Plus, we’re confidential; see #5 above.
1. I am afraid that my supervisor and HR person will find out that I contacted the Ombuds Office and see it as breaking the "chain of command," resulting in me getting in trouble.
Again, because of our confidentiality, no one will know we were contacted. Plus, we can help you understand all your options and help you predict what the consequences of each course of action might be.