Office of the Ombudsperson

About the Office


Need someone to listen to your concerns about a university-related situation? Unsure about a policy or procedure on main campus or the affiliates? Need help resolving a conflict?


The Office of the Ombudsperson provides a safe, confidential environment in which students can discuss a University-related problem or concern. We work with students to help identify the root of the problem and create strategies for resolving it. In situations where there is no further recourse, we may investigate or review a decision, and may recommend a remedy. However, recommendations of the Ombudsperson are not binding.

A key aspect of the Office of the Ombudsperson is its impartiality. We are not a student advocacy office, but we're also not an advocate for the University. We are an independent ear when you aren't sure what to do. 

The Office is open to all students from all faculties and campuses who have concerns relating to any part of university life, the most common of which are listed below. Even if we can’t help you, we can guide you to someone who can.

Academic

  • Grades and academic accommodation
  • Scholastic offense accusations, like plagiarism or cheating
  • Student record and transcript disputes
  • Progression requirements
  • Course-related concerns
  • Instructor or TA conflict
  • Being required to withdraw from a program or the university
  • Academic probation and readmission

Non-Academic

  • Registration
  • Tuition and other financial concerns
  • Parking
  • Library and other fines 
  • Student code of conduct
  • Residence
  • Campus recreation
  • Student associations and clubs

We can also be a useful resource for staff, faculty or parents who want general information regarding the University’s various procedures and rules as they apply to students. Below is a list of common questions to help you better navigate this site.

I've never visited the Office of the Ombudsperson. How does it work?

A. The Office of the Ombudsperson is a free service available to all graduate and undergraduate students at Western, and Brescia, Huron and King’s University Colleges. You can book an appointment by phone, email, or our online form. Alternatively, you can take a chance and just pop by. We appreciate having as much information about your concerns before we meet, so please forward all pertinent information such as emails and official letters from the University prior to your appointment.

Remember, the Office of the Ombudsperson is a completely confidential office. Any information you do send us will not be shared with anyone.

When we meet, we’ll have you fill out an intake form so that if you come back we remember your situation and you don’t have to go through it all again. At the end of our discussion if you agree, we will have you give your written consent for us to contact the decision maker or another university administrator. More likely though, we’ll provide you with the tools necessary to solve your problem at the lowest level possible.

We will enter your information into a secure database that only staff in the Office of the Ombudsperson can access. This helps us connect concerns to faculties and determine if there are any systemic issues.

How does the Office of the Ombudsperson help me solve my problems?

A. The Ombudsperson or Associate Ombudsperson will listen to your story, working hard to understand the outcome you want. From there, we’ll give you information about relevant policies or procedures and help you determine what your options are. If your concern is regarding a conflict, we’ll provide you with some conflict management coaching. We can also guide you to other resources that might be beneficial, both on- and off-campus.

Most importantly, we try to promote a solution that’s fair and equitable to all parties involved in the concern.

What are the Powers of the Ombudsperson?

A. The Ombudsperson has the power to talk to anyone at the University or at any of the Affiliated University Colleges. The Ombudsperson can get access to the information needed to resolve a problem.

The Ombudsperson does not have the power to make decisions. However, she can make recommendations to those who do have that power.

Most situations are resolved informally, without a need for recommendations.

Need more information about the powers of the Ombudsperson? See the Memorandum of Agreement.

I'm a parent of a Western student. Who can answer my questions about university policy?

A. Staff in the Office of the Ombudsperson are happy to answer questions about University policy, but cannot discuss specific situations without a student’s permission. For more information about how we communicate with parents, see the guide concerning Involvement by Parents and Family Members.