Mission, History and Charter of the Office
The Office of the Ombudsman is a neutral, independent, informal and confidential resource to facilitate fair, equitable and expeditious resolutions to concerns and problems raised by students at the University.
History at George Mason University
The role of the Ombudsman at George Mason University has evolved over the last decade. In 1998, the Ombudsman for Student Academic Affairs was instituted as a safe space for students to raise academic concerns. In 2007, as a joint effort of the Office of the Provost and University Life, the responsibilities of the Ombudsman were expanded to also include non-academic issues, giving birth to the Office of the Ombudsman.
Webster's Dictionary defines ombudsman as "one that investigates reported complaints, reports findings, and helps to achieve equitable settlements."
The word ombudsman is derived from Swedish and means "commissioner or agent." In 1809, an office of the ombudsman was created in Sweden to act an agent of justice, and to ensure equity in affairs between the government and citizens. In the early 1960s, US universities adopted the role of the ombudsman during the student protest movements as a way to better respond to the needs and grievances of college students. Today, ombuds offices are integral parts of institutions across the globe.