Office of Social Equity
Lock Haven University, a member of the PASSHE, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability or age in its programs and activities. The following office has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies: Lock Haven University, Social Equity, J202 East Campus, Lock Haven, PA 17745
What does Ombudsman Mean
The word "ombudsman" has Swedish origins, and was first used as a public office in Sweden. According to one scholar, the term refers to "a person who has an ear to the people." In American colleges and universities, the office is often referred to as an "agent for justice" within the complex institutional systems of higher education.
The Assistant to the President/Director of Social Equity serves as the University Ombudsman. Administrators, faculty, staff and students have the right to consult with this officer in the event they have specific problems on campus and are in need of a mediator to assist them. Every consultation is in the strictest confidentiality.
Role of the Ombudsman
The Ombudsman facilitates communication when conflict arises among students, staff, faculty, administrators, and service offices of the University. These principles are followed:
Impartiality-- Taking a nonaligned role when hearing a concern.
Independence-- Operating independently of the usual administrative authorities.
Confidentiality-- Keeping records, contacts, and communication confidential; pursuing complaints only with the consent of the complainant.
- Hearing concerns, complaints, and grievances
- Conducting investigations, when appropriate
- Helping to identify and evaluate options for resolution with all parties
- Serving as neutral facilitator, conciliator, and/or mediator in problem-solving and conflict resolution
- Maintaining resource files on campus policies, procedures, services, and programs
- Making referrals to other resources
Serves as Consultant
- Conducting forums and workshops on issues
- Working with policy making group
- Offering recommendations regarding changes in policies, procedures, and resolution structures
Consult the Ombudsman if you . . .
- are unsure about which University policies, procedures or regulations apply in your situation.
- have a specific academic or employment problem which cannot be resolved by following regular University procedures.
- feel that you have been unfairly or inequitable treated by a University employee.
- consider that you have been the victim of discrimination or unfair treatment based on gender, ethnic origin, religion, or social or political ideology.
- feel that any University policy, procedure or regulation has been applied unfairly or erroneously to you.
How the Ombudsman Can Help You
If you don't know whether there is a specific policy or procedure to deal with your situation, The Office of the University Ombudsman will provide advice, information or referral.
In cases such as grade appeals or academic decisions, a route of appeal has been set out in the University regulations. The Ombudsman can explain these mechanisms to you and help you use them.
Most problems can be handled through normal channels. Academic advisors, department heads, deans, and directors who have specific areas of responsibility should usually be consulted first when a problem arises. However, there are circumstances where these areas may not be clear or when you may have concerns about pursuing these channels. This is when talking with the Ombudsman will help you decide what options may be appropriate for your situation.