An ombuds officer is an appointed, impartial, and independent party who helps members of the UCF community resolve matters by offering informal and confidential exploration of options.

The word OMBUDSMAN (om – buds – man) comes from Scandinavia during the 19th century, where the term applied to a public official appointed to investigate citizens’ complaints against government agencies. The purpose of the Ombuds Office is to assure that every voice in the organization can be heard and that every problem can receive an impartial review.

Excerpt reprinted from The Ombudsman Handbook, The Ombuds Association, Inc., 1994

All members of the university community (students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents).

The Ombuds Office at the University of Central Florida was established in 1994 by President John C. Hitt to enhance the quality of service offered to all members of the university community.

The office does not replace formal avenues or processes, but offers assistance in an informal, independent, impartial, and confidential manner.

All conversations with the Ombuds Office staff are confidential, unless authorized by the complainant or otherwise required by applicable law, including without limitation, Chapter 119, Florida Statutes.

The Ombuds Officer keeps no records containing identifying information on behalf of the organization.

The Ombuds Officer will not testify in any formal judicial or administrative hearing about concerns brought to her attention.

If there appears to be imminent threat of serious harm, confidentiality will be broken.

Speak directly with the party involved and try to resolve the issue.

If you are unable to resolve the issue directly with the party involved, advance to the next level of appeal (department chair, dean, director, vice president, etc.).

Depending on your status (student, staff, faculty), consult the appropriate handbook (Golden Rule; Undergraduate or Graduate Catalog; or the Faculty or A&P and USPS Handbook).

Explore additional Resources.

If you feel trapped or lost in an endless maze.

If you’re confused about university policy.

If you need someone to listen to your concern.

If you are seeking informal ways to resolve the issues you face.

If you’re not sure where to go for help.

If you want legal advice or representation. The Ombuds Officer can advise you of your rights within the university, but will not provide legal advice or represent you in a legal matter.

If you have a non-university related disagreement or problem. The Ombuds Office will not address disputes between members of the campus community and private individuals, companies, or organizations not affiliated with UCF. Student Legal Services can be used by students to address this type of problem.

If you want someone to advocate for you in a dispute. The Ombuds Officer is a neutral facilitator, has no stake in the outcome, and is not an advocate for either side.

The Ombuds Officer will not testify in any formal judicial or administrative hearing about concerns brought to her attention.

We will:

Listen to your complaint.

Clarify university policy.

Answer questions concerning appropriate channels.

Assist with problems that have not been resolved by other offices.

Informally investigate your complaint.

Make referrals to individuals who can address your concern.

Help define options that are available to you.

Recommend changes to university policy, rules, or procedures that are outdated, unclear, or ineffective.

Open avenues of communication; facilitate conversations.

Offer a SAFE place to discuss your concerns