Will my concerns be kept confidential?
Yes. The person who sees the Ombudsman is the one to decide whether the issue will go beyond the Office of the Ombudsman. Please be reminded that the confidentiality of e-mail cannot be guaranteed, which is why we do not conduct Ombudsman business over email. It is fine to use email for setting up an appointment, but please do not include sensitive or confidential information if you use email.
The Office of the Ombudsman does not maintain records about you or the information you share. The only information we keep is for statistical purposes only and does not include any identifiable information, such as names, student numbers, etc.
Is Everything Shared With the Office of the Ombudsman Confidential?
Confidentiality applies to most conversations and is a long-established practice. The main exception is when, in the judgment of the Ombudsman, there is an immediate threat or risk of serious physical harm to yourself or to anyone. In other instances, the Ombudsman may discuss identifying information with another party after receiving verbal consent from a visitor in order to assist in resolving an issue or answering specific questions.
The confidentiality belongs to the Office of the Ombudsman and cannot be waived by anyone else. For example, a person who consults with the Ombudsman should not expect him/her to testify or participate in any formal proceeding.
In a safe, confidential setting, the students have the freedom to talk about especially sensitive situations that they may not yet be comfortable sharing with others.
How can I be sure that my contact with the Office of the Ombudsman is confidential?
Confidentiality is the foundation of the office and is a fundamental principle in our professional Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. As a visitor to the office, you can expect that conversations with the Ombudsman are confidential and off the record.
Confidentiality does not apply: a) when there is imminent risk of serious harm to yourself or anyone; that includes disclosures of child or elder abuse; b) if, during the course of your communications with the Ombudsman, you give him/her permission to make disclosures and the Ombudsman agrees to do so.
The agreement to maintain confidentiality is what allows the Office to be an alternative channel of communication. The Ombudsman will not disclose the identity of a visitor who uses the Office nor disclose any information regarding a voiced concern or issue without the visitor’s expressed permission.
The Office of the Ombudsman provides an alternative resource for a visitor to explore and consider options in order to make informed decisions.
What does confidential really mean?
Confidentiality within the Office of the Ombudsman means that you are free to discuss concerns related to classes, professors, other students, administrators, departments, etc. without that information leaving the office or going on record. The exception is imminent risk of serious physical harm to yourself and/or others.