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The Office of the Ombudsperson provides the university community with the opportunity to work through issues and concerns outside of formal channels. The Ombuds does not replace formal processes, but supplements your available options for resolving conflict. Our services are available to the entire NU community: students, faculty and staff.

The Office of the Ombudsperson is:

  • Confidential – We do not disclose who comes to see us, or the content of our conversation, except:
    • If we have a concern about an imminent risk of physical harm; or
    • The visitor discloses an issue we are required to report by law (e.g. child abuse)
  • Neutral – We are here to serve all members of the university community, so we do not take sides on any particular issue.
  • Informal – The Office of the Ombudsperson is NOT an office of notice, and is therefore NOT authorized to receive formal complaints on behalf of the university. However, we can direct you to the most useful resources on or off campus to resolve your complaint.
  • Independent – The ombudsperson reports to the provost, but is outside of normal administrative structures at NU.

Explore Our Services

Conflict, Problem and Resolution Consultation

Please contact us if you:

  • Are uncertain about which university policy or procedure applies to your situation.
  • Feel that you have been unfairly treated by a university employee.
  • Feel that a university policy, procedure or regulation is unfair, or has been applied unfairly or incorrectly.
  • Need to know who has the authority to make an exception to a rule or policy.
  • Need to know how to make a formal complaint or grievance.

Facilitate Communication

  • Between individuals or groups in order to resolve conflicts.
  • Find and negotiate resolutions.
  • Look at issues differently.


We will direct you to the individuals and offices with

  • authority
  • specific expertise
  • the ability to best address your concern.

Policy and Procedure Development

The ombudsperson is available to consult on

  • developing or modifying policies and procedures
  • help ensure consistency with other institutional practices
  • avoid problems with implementation.

Report on Trends and Concerns

The ombudsperson

  • observes trends developing throughout the university community
  • informs the NU administration about significant trends
  • recommends changes to policies and procedures.

Other Services

We also provide the following to the NU community:

  • Presentations to your group about our services or a topic of interest.
  • Confidential review of letters and documents for clarity and effectiveness.
  • Coaching and leadership development.

Learn About Ombuds

Read more about what ombuds can and cannot do, or watch a video by the International Ombuds Association to learn about this role.

The ombudsperson will:

  • Listen to you and analyze your situation.
  • Answer questions and provide information.
  • Offer advice and help develop solutions.

Please note:

  • The Office of the Ombudsperson is not authorized to accept notice of claims on behalf of NU; communication with the office does not constitute "official notice" to the university.
  • The ombudsperson cannot participate, as a witness or otherwise, in any formal proceeding on or off campus.