The Duke Office of the Ombuds offers impartial and confidential support on a variety of issues. In accordance with the International Ombuds Association’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, the Office of the Ombuds serves as a resource to listen, discuss concerns, and help Duke community members navigate options for resolution of issues related to their work or education. Use of the Office of the Ombuds is voluntary. No one is required to meet with an Ombuds. Those who choose to meet with an Ombuds agree to abide by the Terms of Use and Office of the Ombuds Charter.

Primary Role of the Ombuds

  • Provides impartial and confidential environment to talk
  • Listens to concerns and complaints and discusses appropriate options
  • Helps to evaluate those options
  • Assists in resolving problems
  • Refers to appropriate campus resources
  • Provides information about university resources

Examples of Services Provided by the Ombuds

  • Facilitates informal resolution processes
  • Helps decide how to approach a person who you think is causing a problem
  • Discusses how to approach a fellow community member who has made an offensive or insensitive comment
  • Assists when you are uncertain what Duke policies or procedures apply to your situation
  • Assists when you don’t know what individual or university department is appropriate to go to for an answer to a specific question or to obtain a particular service
  • Helps when you feel as if you have been unfairly treated by anyone on campus
  • Engages in “shuttle diplomacy” to solve a problem between you and a student/employee
  • Helps you evaluate and select among a variety of options to address a concern with a fellow community member or department

Services Not Offered by the Ombuds

  • Adjudicates or participates in formal university grievance processes
  • Determines guilt of any party in a dispute
  • Gets involved in any formal litigation or testifies in court, unless compelled to do so by law, subpoena, court order, or other formal legal requirement
  • Provides legal advice
  • Assigns sanctions to individuals
  • Replaces the function of any official university office, department, or process
  • Keeps records of students, employees, or faculty and/or conversations