What We Do
The Ombuds Office provides confidential, neutral, independent, and informal assistance to faculty (including postdocs), students, and staff at Haverford who have concerns arising from or affecting their work and studies at the College.
This role was created to provide employees and students with a comfortable place to discuss problems or concerns, de-escalate issues, and improve working and interpersonal relationships. While not a substitute for normal channels of communication or embedded structures for resolving conflict, such as the student Honor Code, the Ombuds can serve as an alternative when other more established processes have not provided satisfaction.
The Ombuds listens to people, offers information about policies and procedures, helps people examine options for resolving concerns, and identifies offices and services on campus that might be able to assist with a particular issue or concern. Haverford’s Ombuds is a trained professional under the supervision of the president.
The Ombuds role includes:
- Coaching for individuals to resolve problems on their own.
- Listening and discussing questions, concerns, and complaints.
- Facilitating conversations between parties.**
- Assisting, as an unofficial resource, with generating possible options for resolution; weighing pros and cons.
- Assisting, as an unofficial resource, with interpreting College policies and procedures.
- Providing referrals to appropriate individuals or offices who can assist in official resolution of issues.
- Identifying formal grievance procedures when appropriate or when informal processes have been exhausted.
** The Ombuds will only facilitate conversations when all parties agree and there is the explicit understanding that (a) such a dialogue is completely voluntary and (b) the Ombuds or College officials are not in a position to enforce any understandings or courses of action agreed upon during the conversation.
The Ombuds role does not include:
- Providing legal advice.
- Providing official interpretation of College policies and procedures.
- Determining guilt or wrongdoing of anyone involved.
- Providing psychological counseling or therapy.
- Adjudicating or participating in formal grievance or dispute processes available to employees, or Honor Council proceedings.