The University of Western Ontario


Annual Report
of the
Office of the Ombudsperson


The Office of the Ombudsperson



THIS REPORT covers the period from August 1, 2002 to July 31, 2003. It focuses on decision making affecting students: common biases among students and among decision makers; special challenges in decision making; and how to improve decision making. In November 2002, the new Scholastic Discipline policy came into force, and several cases illustrate the difficulties experienced by decision makers trying to adjust to that new policy.

WHY AN ANNUAL REPORT? The Memorandum of Agreement for the Ombuds Office states: "The Ombudsperson shall make an annual report to the campus community. For reporting purposes, the year begins August 1 and ends July 31. The annual report will provide a statistical summary of the caseload, a summary account of recommendations made by the Ombudsperson and the responses to them, with due regard to the confidentiality rights of the parties, and such other material as the Ombudsperson deems pertinent."

ALL CASES described depart in some manner from the facts in order to better protect the identities, not only of students, but of faculty and staff, departments and Faculties. This is in keeping with the Ombuds Office's commitment to confidentiality.

WESTERN'S OMBUDSPERSON and Assistant Ombudsperson have both made substantial contributions to the broader ombudsman community. These contributions are described towards the end of the report.

TABLES at the end of the report breakdown cases by constituency of client and type of problem, as well as treatment by the Ombuds Office. The total cases for this reporting year was 685, almost identical to last year's total of 689.

While the overall numbers are much the same as last year, there was an increase in the number of cases in which the Ombudsperson intervened and in the number of graduate students who sought services. It is our impression that we are seeing an increase in complex issues. The number of interventions has increased by two percent of the total case load from last year to this year (from 86 cases to 100 cases), and the percentage of case files open six or more days has risen by one percent (from 23 to 24 percent).

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