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REMOTE APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE
Beginning March 16, 2020 and until further notice

Please contact us by email to schedule an appointment
Email: ombudsman@cornell.edu

If you are unable to email to schedule an appointment, you may call (607) 255-4321 however, there may be a delay in our response.


CORNELL OMBUDSMAN COVID-19 STATEMENT

Like most of you, Charlie, Tracey and I are working remotely. Please know we are here to help anyone in the community navigate uncertain, confusing and anxious times.

We are in awe of our community’s ability to transition to virtual instruction, and to work and live differently and we are grateful to our essential employees who make this possible. Along with acclimating to the technical aspects of the shift, we’re all human, and so there are inevitably misunderstandings when we are less able to access our colleagues emotions, body language, and other non-verbal signals. Here are some tips to help you navigate the workplace and academic arena.

First, it’s helpful to communicate with your colleagues in an open yet non-intrusive way. Please check in about how much communication they want and at what times and please realize this isn’t static. If you need to talk about something difficult or emotionally charged, it’s generally best to use Zoom. Email is efficient but can lead to misinterpretation for emotional or nuanced subjects.

Second, when the inevitable conflict comes up, please take a step back and try to give yourself time to respond appropriately. When you choose to respond, please try to do so from a place of curiosity and understanding as opposed to judgment. If approached openly and non-judgmentally, conflict can be an opportunity to address what’s not working well.

Finally, please know that everyone is struggling in ways we can’t possibly understand.

Charlie, Tracey and I are here to listen, help identify options, coach you for a difficult conversation, explain policies and protocols, identify resources and generally try to be helpful. We are comfortable talking over most anything with a Cornell nexus and we believe reaching out to talk to us is a sign of strength. For any issue, large or small, we look forward to speaking to you.

Please take care of yourself.

Linda, Tracey, and Charlie


RECENT NEWS

UA Resolution: Recognition of the Office of the University Ombudsman 50th Anniversary
Cornell Chronicle: Ombudsman office marks 50 years of serving campus


WELCOME

The Office of the University Ombudsman offers a safe place where community members may discuss problems or issues within the University. The Ombudsman treats all inquiries as confidential, as described in our Ethical Principles below. We assist visitors in several ways:

  • Provide a welcoming environment to listen to visitor concerns
  • Provide information on University policies and practices
  • Provide information on how to make the University aware of a particular problem
  • Discuss and assist the visitor in evaluating available options
  • Refer the visitor to the proper authority to resolve the situation
  • Facilitate constructive dialogue
  • While maintaining confidentiality, provide upward feedback to the administration (or others in authority) when a systemic issue or trend occurs

The Ombudsman assists visitors in a variety of ways consistent with our mission. The Ombudsman does not take a side in disputes. Overall, the Ombudsman is an advocate for fairness and equity.

The Office of the University Ombudsman is available to all students, faculty and staff affiliated with all units of Cornell University, excluding Weill Cornell Medicine.


ETHICAL PRINCIPLES

The Ombudsman operates according to the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

Independence
The Ombudsman is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible within Cornell.

Neutrality and Impartiality
The Ombudsman, as a designated neutral, remains unaligned and impartial. The Ombudsman strives to promote procedural fairness in the content and administration of Cornell’s practices, processes, and policies. The Ombudsman does not engage in any situation that could create a conflict of interest.

Confidentiality
The Ombudsman holds the identity and all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so, except as required by law, or where, in the judgment of the Ombudsman, there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.

Informality
The Ombudsman, as an informal resource, does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to his/her attention. As an informal resource, the Ombudsman is not authorized to accept notice (formal complaints) for Cornell University. Moreover, because the Ombudsman holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, subject to the limited exceptions detailed above, the Ombudsman will not forward information received in confidence.

The Office of the Ombudsman was established on the basis of these ethical principles. We offer a unique setting where community members may talk about issues in a candid and authentic manner without fear of reprisal. As part of Cornell’s Caring Community, our efforts are geared toward managing conflict, thereby improving the student life experience and the work environment.

The Office of the Ombudsman is a voluntary program and no one is required to use Ombudsman services. If a community member (visitor) chooses to meet with an Ombudsman, the visitor will be understood to have agreed to abide by these ethical principles, including agreeing not to call the Ombudsman to testify with respect to confidential communications.