The Graduate School Advance to a Higher Degree

Ombuds Services

What is an Ombuds?

The Ombuds service is an informal, neutral, and, in most cases, confidential resource for new and continuing graduate students to raise questions or concerns about any aspect of their graduate experiences. Faculty and staff may also take advantage of this resource.

Please note, an Ombuds is happy to provide advice, inform students about university resources, make referrals, offer options, and seek explanations. However, the Ombuds does not file formal complaints or keep formal records of visits. We are unable to formally advocate for the students in University matters.

How Does an Ombuds Meeting Work?

When you meet with an Ombuds, your entire conversation is confidential among the staff of the OGA unless otherwise requested. Sometimes, graduate students do give permission for information to be shared. You can think of an Ombuds as a "Thinking Partner" - someone who will help you come up with options for the concern you are having. However, keep in mind that university policy requires the office to report cases of alleged research misconduct to the Research Integrity Office or the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships, depending upon the nature of the allegation. Likewise, the staff must report situations in which students and others are in imminent risk or danger. All OGA staff members are mandatory reporters of sexual harassment and sexual violence allegations regardless of service or assistance requested.

What concerns can I share with an Ombuds?

Examples of concerns that have been brought by students include relationships with major professors, conditions associated with graduate staff appointments, and academic difficulties. However, an Ombuds may assist with any issue related to your graduate education.

What is a meeting with an Ombuds like?

Most meetings are usually 30 to 60 minutes. The setting is confidential to the degree allowed by law and University policy. Occasionally, an Ombuds will invite a second listener with expertise in a particular area, like employment policies, to a follow-up meeting if needed.

Ernest C. Young Hall, Room 170 | 155  S. Grant Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2114 | 765-494-2600

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