Our ombudspeople offer neutral and confidential guidance on a variety of issues for all students and faculty at Duke.
Primary Role of the Ombudsperson
- Provides a neutral, safe, and confidential environment to talk
- Listens to concerns and complaints and discusses appropriate options
- Helps to evaluate those options
- Assists students in resolving problems
- Mediates conflicts, convenes meetings, engages in "shuttle diplomacy"
- Refers students to appropriate campus resources
- Provides information about university resources
Examples of Services Provided by the Ombudsperson
- Helps resolve or mediate a dispute with an individual or group.
- Helps decide how to approach a person who you think is causing a problem.
- Discusses how to approach a fellow student who has made an offensive or insensitive comment.
- Assists when you are uncertain what Duke policies or procedures apply to your situation.
- Assists when you don't know what individual or university department is appropriate to go to for an answer to a specific question or to obtain a particular service.
- Helps when you feel as if you have been unfairly treated by anyone on campus.
- Engages in "shuttle diplomacy" to solve a problem between you and a student/employee.
- Helps you evaluate and select among a variety of options to address a concern with a fellow student or department
- Helps resolve or mediate a non-grade- or non-evaluation-related dispute with a faculty member.
Services Not Offered by the Ombudsperson
- Adjudicates or participates in formal university grievance processes
- Determines guilt of any party in a dispute
- Gets involved in any formal litigation or testify in court
- Provides legal advice
- Assigns sanctions to individuals
- Replaces the function of any official university office, department, or process
- Keeps records of students and/or conversations
Special Notes on Sexual Misconduct
The ombudsperson is one of the university's confidential resources for situations involving sexual misconduct, along with the Women's Center staff, Counseling and Psychological Services staff, Student Health staff, and clergy acting as such in their professional role at Duke.
Ada Gregory, the student ombudsperson, is available to provide resources, support, and reporting options in situations involving student sexual misconduct.
In addition, Ms. Gregory is the university's sole confidential resource for sexual misconduct situations occurring in Duke programs taking place outside of North Carolina, including study abroad programs.
The ombudsperson will not provide mediation in situations involving sexual violence and does not provide professional counseling; a student needing such counseling will be referred to one of the other confidential resources or may contact them directly.