An Ombud can:
Be a sounding board and offer perspective and advice about work-related concerns
Provide you with information about how to manage challenging conversations and resolve a matter informally
Answer questions and provide information to help you assess your options (not legal advice)
Refer you to the appropriate office to file a formal complaint or grievance
Mediate conflicts and facilitate conversations if all participants are willing to do so
An Ombud cannot:
Make or change a policy, rule or decision
Provide legal advice or representation
Testify in formal grievance proceedings
As a member of the International Ombuds Association (IOA), I subscribe to the IOA’s Code of Ethics and
Standards of Practice (both available in multiple languages).
The most important principles of my work as an Ombud are:
1. Confidentiality – the purpose of the Ombuds office is to create a safe space for Broadies to share their concerns, examine issues and identify and consider potential options. I’ll hold all communications confidential, which means that I won’t share the name of anyone who speaks with me – in person, via email, phone or video conference – in or outside of the office or share what we discuss unless you give me explicit permission to do so. The only exception to this confidentiality is if I feel there is an imminent risk of serious harm in which case I’ll notify an appropriate individual or office.
2. Independence – the Ombuds office is an independent office and outside of the Broad's administrative structure. As Ombud, I report to the Broad's Director, Chief Operating Officer and Director of People Relations & Resources, however because confidentiality is so important, the only “reporting” that I’ll do will be in the form of quarterly check-ins to see if the office is being utilized. Reporting will not include any identifying information about individuals or issues that have been shared with me unless you specifically ask me to share that information.
3. Neutrality/Impartiality - the Ombud is an impartial third-party whose role is to offer objective assessments of any concerns raised and provide information about what formal processes are available. I have no authority to take action or advocate on anyone’s behalf and I can’t compel anyone or any department to respond.
4. Informality – an Ombud is an informal resource for faculty and staff, I don’t make decisions on behalf of the Broad and I cannot override any decisions or formally advise any individual or office. I don’t maintain any permanent records of confidential communications and I can’t participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative process regarding concerns brought to my attention. Formal investigations and grievances are the purview of other offices. My role is to listen and offer perspective and information only.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How is meeting with the Ombud different from meeting with other offices?
The services offered by the Ombud are intended to compliment other services available to Broadies - including formal processes - not replace them. Meeting with the Ombud is entirely voluntary and conversations are intended to provide you with constructive listening and to help you assess options for resolution, next steps, and/or coaching. The Ombud can also facilitate conversations and mediate where all parties are amenable. The Ombud does not provide legal advice or psychological counseling.
Does speaking with the Ombud put the Broad on notice?
No. Because the Ombud is an independent, confidential and impartial resource, speaking with the Ombud even about allegations involving discrimination, violations of law or criminal activity does not constitute notice to the Broad. Nothing goes "on record" by meeting with the Ombuds and in order to put something on the record or to obligate the Broad to respond in some way, you would need to speak with other offices.
How confidential is a conversation with the Ombud?
Confidentiality is a critical component of Ombuds practice. No identifying information about individuals requesting meetings or their particular issues or concerns is shared and no detailed records are created. Short-term working notes to keep track of commitments and follow-ups may be created but they remain confidential. Quarterly "reporting" only captures statistical information regarding hours of use of the Ombud's time and in non-identifying, general terms the nature of any trends of concerns to help the Broad identify opportunities for systemic improvements.
What does NOT remain confidential is information that in the judgment of the Ombud would create an imminent risk of serious harm to you or to others (this is in line with the International Ombuds Association Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics) or information that is subject to subpoena and/or ordered to be disclosed by a court of appropriate jurisdiction.
How long do appointments usually last?
Generally appointments last between 30-60 minutes but it depends on the nature of the conversation and available time. If you find that you have more to discuss after the initial meeting or want to schedule a time to have a follow-up conversation, you are free to schedule another appointment.
How do I schedule an appointment?
Because of the confidential nature of meetings and in order to ensure that the Ombud is available when you'd like to meet, you're strongly encouraged to schedule an appointment rather than drop in. You can schedule a time to meet by clicking on the "Schedule Appointment" button (no log-in or registration needed). If for some reason you're not able to schedule using this method, you can schedule an appointment via email to firstname.lastname@example.org - please mention "Appointment" in the subject line.