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Learn About Ombuds

What is an Ombudsperson?

  • Confidential
  • Impartial
  • Informal
  • Independent
  • A safe place for all members of the university community to discuss university-related issues or manage conflicts.

What does an Ombudsperson do?

  • Listen to concerns
  • Assist through voluntary consultation
  • Provide information about policies and procedures
  • Help you assess your situation and develop strategy around it
  • Suggest options that may help you resolve the situation
  • Referrals to individuals with the authority or expertise to address the concerns
  • Referrals to individuals who are advocates (if applicable)
  • Facilitate difficult discussions
  • Mediate
  • Advocate for fairness and equity in the creation and application of policy and procedure Policy/procedure development consultation
  • Presentations/workshops on leadership skills, communication, conflict resolution, etc.

What does the Ombudsperson NOT do?

  • Advocate for individuals
  • Provide legal advice
  • Participate in any formal process inside or outside of the university, as a witness or otherwise.

The Office of the Ombudsperson is NOT an “office of notice” for Northwestern University. Communication with the office does not constitute “official notice” to the university.

Types of concerns brought to the University Ombudsperson:

  • Academic issues
  • Disciplinary matters
  • Housing concerns
  • Workplace issues
  • Discrimination
  • Incivility
  • Faculty/student disputes
  • Retaliation 
  • Unethical behavior
  • Privacy issues
  • Any other behavior university-related

If you find yourself saying . . .

  • Now what do I do?
  • All I get is the run-around! Can they do that?
  • I don’t know who can help me!
  • This is unfair!
  • No one listens or cares.
  • How can I get this resolved?
  • How do I appeal this decision?

. . . the Office of the Ombudsperson can help

Office Address

555 Clark St., Suite 209
Evanston, IL 60208
(847) 467-2430

Meetings also available in Abbott Hall in Chicago, phone, and by Zoom.