The University of Western Ontario


Ombuds Office
Annual Report




Three factors seem to govern how many students from a particular unit use the services of the Ombuds Office: (1) the size of the unit (Faculty, College or School); (2) the proximity of the unit to the University Community Centre, where the Ombuds Office is located; and (3) the extent to which members of the unit staff, faculty and fellow students refer students to the office. So it is no surprise to us that Social Science wins the numbers game they are right next door, they are Western's biggest Faculty, and they are diligent in referring students to us (for which we are very grateful!)

How students first contacted the office:

Undergraduates: 40% dropped in 24% sent an email 36% telephoned
Graduates: 50% dropped in 17% sent an email 33% telephoned

Numbers of Students Using the Ombuds Office

100 Social Science
72 Science
60 Faculty of Graduate Studies
27 Engineering
25 Arts & Humanities
20 Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry

The remaining Faculties, Schools and Affiliated University Colleges had fewer than 20 students who used the Ombuds Office in the year in question.

In addition, 85 students who used the services were presumed to be undergraduates, however, their faculty of registration was unknown to us.

Number of Issues Raised by Non-Students

Non-Students raised 104 issues with the Ombuds Office during the year. These issues were raised by:

26 Faculty
21 Staff
36 Family member of student
21 Other ("Other" included post-docs, some alumni, members of the London community, and fellow ombudsman calling to consult on cases)

Note: whereas a student may use the office many times, but is counted as ONE student, we count non-students by issue. In the case of student-related issues, we count a non-student contact if and only if the contact is independent of contact with the student in question.


  1. A parent calls to discuss something which appears to be happening to his son or daughter he wants to know what the University policy and procedure are, and whether the Ombuds Office can assist the student. We have not knowingly had contact so far with the student. Therefore, this is counted as a "non-student" file.
  2. A faculty member calls to discuss the application of a policy. Some time later, the same faculty member calls about a problem with a student in her class. In this latter case, we have spoken to the student and we have permission to discuss the situation with the faculty member. The first situation (application of policy) is counted as a non-student issue; the second is simply part of the student issue.

Approximately 70% of non-student contacts are student-related issues. Those not student-related concerned a wide range of matters a billing dispute with a utility, problems at a condo, disputes with neighbours, and issues to do with Western, for example, job problems or concerns about services.

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