Confidentiality & Other Principles
To function effectively, the Ombuds Office must maintain the confidentiality of communications with all those who use the office.
Communications with the Ombuds Office are considered confidential and privileged—we will not retain any records that identify any individuals who visit the office. The Ombuds will not answer questions about people with whom they may have spoken, or disclose an individual’s name or specific issue to anyone outside of the office, unless during the course of our discussions with a visitor, we are given permission to do so in order to assist in surfacing and/or addressing a concern.
Permanent records kept by the Office include only statistical information for analyzing and reporting trends and recommendations to the president. All other records are regularly destroyed.
- where the Ombuds determines that there is an imminent risk of serious harm to the individual or others in the community
- where the office receives information from which the Ombuds suspects abuse of a minor
- where ordered to make a disclosure by a court or government agency of competent authority. In working with the Ombuds Officer, you agree that you won’t call on the Ombuds to testify regarding the confidential communications.
The Ombuds is not considered a responsible employee or mandated reporter under Title IX and the Clery Act, and will not report information shared regarding a violation of the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. Neither will the Ombuds be involved in the investigation or adjudication of sexual misconduct cases.
Ombuds do not serve as advocates for any party to a dispute, including the College administration. However, Ombuds do advocate for fair processes and fair administration of those processes by campus entities. When making recommendations, Ombuds have the responsibility to suggest actions or policies that will be as equitable as possible for all parties involved. The Ombuds, as a designated neutral party, remains unaligned and impartial. The Ombuds does not engage in a situation that could create a conflict of interest.
The Haverford Ombuds Office is independent in structure, function, and appearance. An Ombuds functions independently of the College administration. The Ombuds reporting relationship is with the highest authority in an organization. The Haverford College Ombuds is supervised by the president.
An Ombuds functions on an informal and off-the-record basis by such means as listening to visitors or callers, providing and receiving information, identifying and reframing issues, developing a range of responsible options, and—with permission given to the Ombuds in the course of discussions and at the Ombuds’ discretion—making informal inquiries. The Haverford College Ombuds provides an informal resource to the College community. They do not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to their attention. The Ombuds does not conduct formal investigations, adjudicate, arbitrate, or serve as a witness in any administrative or legal proceedings either at the College or elsewhere. As a matter of policy, Haverford does not call on the Ombuds to disclose confidential communications or to serve as a witness.
By talking with the ombuds officers, you and the ombuds agree that the Ombuds Office will not disclose or keep records of individually identifiable information; we will not testify or participate in any formal proceeding; communications with the Ombuds are privileged, and this privilege is held by the Ombuds Office and cannot be waived by others. This agreement fosters confidentiality and helps provide a safe and neutral place for discussing any concern.