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Our Principles

Confidential

The Ombuds Office is confidential. We will not identify you or discuss your particular concerns with anyone unless you give permission during the course of our informal discussions, and only to the extent that you permit. Any action taken is at the discretion of the ombuds, considering the interests of all parties. Regardless of permission, we do not participate in any formal process. The only exception to confidentiality occurs when we believe that disclosure is necessary to address an imminent risk of serious harm.

Impartial

As designated neutrals, we advocate for fair process, consider the rights and interests of all parties, and do not take sides. We have no decision-making authority and do not judge, discipline, or reward anyone. We have no personal stake in the outcome of any situation.

Informal

Use of the Ombuds Office is not a substitute for formal procedures, such as filing a grievance. Any communication with us is off-the-record and does not put Columbia University on notice of a problem. If you wish to place the University on notice, we can give you information about how to do so. We follow no prescribed sequences of steps, and do not participate in any formal grievance process.

Independent

We are directly responsible to the president, not to any other administrative office. We work hard to merit the trust others place in us.

Ombuds Office Charter

Please click here to download a PDF copy of the Ombuds Office Charter.