2017-2018 Report of the Office of the Ombuds

The 2017-2018 Report of the Ombuds is now available now. Click here to read it now

The purpose of the Office of the Ombuds is to help members of the Penn community who are experiencing problems or conflict related to their work, academic or living experiences at the University. We offer mediation services with the aim of helping individuals resolve differences. Our door is open equally to students, staff and faculty, and we work to resolve the issues that are troubling them. The principles that guide our interactions with visitors are described on our website and can be summarized as follows:

• Confidentiality. We do not discuss visitors’ concerns or issues with others, unless given permission.
• Neutrality. We do not take sides in a dispute.
• Informality. We do not keep records of our conversations with visitors, and we do not carry out formal investigations.
• Independence. The Ombuds Office is not bound by established reporting procedures and administrative hierarchies. We have the freedom to raise issues throughout the University.

During the past academic year, 163 individuals from across the University consulted our office. This represents an increase of 5.8% in comparison with the academic year 2016-2017. Visitors to the Ombuds Office represented all parts of the University community, with the highest proportions being staff (39.9%), followed by faculty (30.0%), graduate and professional students (17.2%), and undergraduate students (9.2%).

Most come as individuals, although an increasing number of groups of people have visited during the past two years to talk about common problems and their proposed resolutions.