All members of the University community—faculty, staff, undergraduates, graduate and professional students, post doctorate fellows, and residents—may utilize the services of the Ombuds Office.
The Ombuds Office is unable to serve members of collective bargaining units, or individuals solely affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania Health System but not the University, for whom alternative grievance procedures are available.
Each situation brought to the Ombuds Office is unique, and therefore addressed individually.
What We Do
We are available to listen and inquire about issues and concerns; to explore options for informal resolution of conflicts; to informally mediate specific disputes; to clarify and examine university policies and procedures; and to connect visitors with appropriate resources within the University. We also advise and make recommendations to the administration about procedures and policies that may benefit from review, reconsideration, modification or clarification.
Additionally, we do:
- Identify resources
- Develop strategies
- Vent frustrations
- Discover alternatives
- Manage expectations
What We Don’t Do
It is important to note, however, that we have no authority to impose a resolution where a dispute exists. Rather, we can make inquiries, gather data, try to broaden mutual understandings, and reframe conflicts.
Penn’s Office of the Ombuds does not accept formal complaints or notice for the University. If a visitor wishes to make a record or put the University “on notice,” that is, to make the University formally aware of a particular problem, we can provide information on how to do so.
Additionally, we do not:
- Advocate for any individual, office, or result
- Participate in formal hearings or grievance processes
- Serve as an agent of notice on behalf of the University
- Provide legal advice
- Provide psychological counseling
- Make rulings or conduct formal investigations
- Set or modify policies or procedures