Office of the Ombuds Brochure

The Ombuds Office is a designated neutral and, as such, does not advocate for any individual or point of view. Yet, as an impartial office, the Ombuds strives to see that people are treated fairly and equitably. The Office is independent of any existing administrative or academic structures and is responsible only to the President of Pomona College for administrative and budgetary issues. The office is purely informal in that it supplements and does not replace the existing formal resources available to members of the College.

The office practice is designed to enhance the visitor's ability to deal more effectively with situations they may encounter. If they request more assistance, further information can be gathered on their behalf, referrals can be made to those more expert in a specific concern, or they can be directed to file a complaint with appropriate offices at Pomona College. When appropriate, shuttle diplomacy or mediation can be employed to help find a satisfactory solution.

Informal Process

The Ombuds provides the visitor with a safe forum to voice their concerns, evaluate their situation, organize their thoughts, assess their feelings, and decide what is important and relevant according to their specific circumstances.  Based on the issue at hand the Ombuds generates and explores options for the visitor to consider and formulate possible outcomes. Options can range from simply talking about their problem to pursuing a formal grievance internally or externally with the proper offices of notice.  The Ombuds office will not accept notice for the College. Visitors choose their options and decide any course of action including not visiting the Ombuds again.

The privacy of the visitor will be respected, as conversations will remain confidential. Notes that are kept will be destroyed according to our policies. In very unusual circumstances, such as a in cases where there is imminent risk of serious harm to the visitor and/or others, information may need to be revealed to the proper authorities. Visitors are encouraged to raise these issues with the Ombuds.

Access to Internal Formal Process

Not all problems can be solved informally, and so, the visitor may choose a more formal grievance process available under Pomona College policies. The Ombuds will discuss how to access the formal process appropriate to the visitor's circumstances but does not participate in any formal proceedings. Visitors will be subject to the policies and procedures established by Pomona College.

Topics of Discussion

For many, the Ombuds Office will be a safe and confidential first step to addressing a problem.  For others, contacting the office may occur later in the resolution of a concern.

The following are examples of some appropriate concerns that you may bring to the attention of the Ombuds:

  • Academic freedom
  • Administrative or Bureaucratic runarounds
  • Authorship
  • Career development
  • Cultural misunderstandings
  • Conflict of interest
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Educational integrity
  • Ethics/Whistle blowing
  • Favoritism
  • Fear of retaliation
  • Formal processes for resolving issues
  • Harassment
  • Health and safety concerns
  • How to make or seek an apology
  • Interpersonal difficulties
  • Peer relations
  • Personality conflicts/meanness/incivility
  • Professional/scientific misconduct
  • Protecting your reputation
  • Racism or other types of discrimination
  • Research-related Issues
  • Sexual harassment
  • Unprofessional conduct
  • Untangling a complicated situation
  • Violations of College policy
  • Working conditions and disputes

As a designated neutral, the Ombuds Office does not take sides or advocate on behalf of any individual or department.  As appropriate, the Ombuds Office provides feedback to Pomona College officials regarding systemic problems and trends and publishes official annual reports for the campus community with data regarding workplace conflict issues and recommendations for change. These reports are prepared with data that protects the visitor's identity and confidentiality.

In order to protect confidentiality, the Ombuds Office conducts its business in person and over private - not the College's - email.