The Duke Ombuds Office offers neutral and confidential guidance on a variety of issues. In accordance with the International Ombuds Association’s standards of practice and code of ethics, the Ombuds Office 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. These services are available at no cost.

The university ombudsperson is the primary contact for faculty and staff. The student ombudspeople are the primary contacts for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.

Primary Role of the Ombudsperson

  • Provides a neutral, safe, 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 Ombudsperson

  • 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 Ombudsperson

  • 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