Communications with the ombudsman are confidential to the extent permissible by law and are considered off-the-record. The ombudsman is not authorized to accept notice of claims against UConn; anyone wishing to give the University notice of claims against it must contact one of the University’s formal channels such as a person in authority. The ombudsman can discuss how you may access one of these formal channels but does not participate in any formal proceeding, including serving as a witness with respect to confidential communications.
Communicating with the Ombuds is Voluntary
UConn faculty, administrators, professional and staff employees, and graduate students have the right to consult the Ombuds Office without retaliation. Similarly, because consultation with the Ombuds is voluntary and not a required step in any process, formal or informal, internal or external, individuals will not be retaliated against for choosing to not consult the Ombuds.
Email is Not Considered a Confidential Medium of Communication
It’s often best to schedule a face to face meeting at the Ombuds Office by calling (860) 486-5143. The Ombuds Office is available during normal working hours but you may be required to notify your supervisor and receive approval to leave your assigned work area. You may feel it’s preferable to access the Ombuds Office without notifying a supervisor. If so, you can schedule a time outside normal work hours. (You can also use approved leave time or a scheduled break or lunch time). The Ombuds will be available to arrange flexible hours to meet with employees outside normal work hours.
About Sharing your Concerns with the Ombuds Office
The Ombuds takes the position that communications shared with him are confidential, and that this confidence is held by the Ombuds and cannot be waived by others. The Ombuds Office is not authorized to and does not accept legal notice of claims against UConn. If you wish to go on record about a problem or put the University on notice of an issue, the Ombuds Office can provide information on how you may do so. The Ombuds does not participate in any formal grievance process. The Ombuds Office has no decision-making authority and maintains no official records or permanent records of confidential communications. Use of the Ombuds Office is done with the understanding that efforts to seek to compel an ombudsman to reveal confidential communications in formal or legal proceedings are wholly contrary to the purpose of the office and will be resisted. This understanding fosters confidentiality to the extent permissible by law and helps provide a safe and neutral place for discussing any concern.