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  Complaints about the Ombudsperson

This document is intended to assist anyone wishing to complain about the Ombudsperson or the Office of the Ombudsperson.

The Advisory Committee has as one of its functions: "To receive and respond to comments or complaints about the Office of the Ombudsperson; and to conduct regular service reviews of the office to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the community." By this means, the Ombudsperson can be held accountable and persons who feel unfairly treated by the Office of the Ombudsperson have recourse.

Complaints may be addressed to any member of the Advisory Committee. The membership list is posted on the Ombudsperson’s website or is available upon request from the Office of the Ombudsperson, the University Students' Council, or the Society of Graduate Students.

Whenever a complaint is received, the Advisory Committee member must alert other members of the Committee and not attempt to respond until the Committee has considered the matter.

The Advisory Committee is free to address the complaint in whatever way it deems appropriate. However, it is not the job of the Committee to reconsider the complainant's matter. The issue before the Committee is whether the Ombudsperson or the Office of the Ombudsperson acted in accordance with the Memorandum of Agreement in regard to the complainant's matter. The process outlined below is a guideline for the Committee.

  • When a verbal comment is made to a member of the Advisory Committee which suggests dissatisfaction with the Ombudsperson or the Office of the Ombudsperson, the member will normally thank the maker of the comment, and ask if he or she wishes to put the matter in writing.
  • A written complaint: the Committee or the member will read it to determine whether it is sufficiently factual and clear so that the complainant's reasons for dissatisfaction can be understood. If it is not factual and clear, the Committee or member will suggest that the written complaint be amended.
  • The complainant must state in writing that he or she authorizes the Ombudsperson to discuss the complaint with the Advisory Committee. If the complainant is unwilling to authorize the Ombudsperson to discuss the matter, it may not be possible to take any effective action in response to the complaint.
  • Preferably the written complaint should state the complainant's goal. Is he or she seeking an apology, a remedial action, improved office practice or reconsideration by the Ombudsperson of some matter?
  • Once the Committee is satisfied that it should look into the matter, it may
    1. Respond to the complaint without alerting the Ombudsperson
    2. Forward the written complaint to the Ombudsperson for response
    3. Convene an in camera meeting to discuss what steps to take, either with or without the Ombudsperson
    4. Convene a meeting with the Ombudsperson to discuss the substance of the complaint. Undertake other steps, including disciplinary action, in accordance with the Memorandum of Agreement.
  • The Committee will make a timely written response to any written complaint.

09/2004 (Frances Bauer wrote the original text.) Updated 05/2006