Welcome to the Office of the Ombudsman

The Ombuds Concept

The word Ombudsman (OM-buds-man) comes from Sweden, where it was first used in 1809 to designate a public official who was appointed to investigate citizens' complaints against government agencies. Today, Ombuds in many different kinds of organizations provide information, options, and impartial review for anyone within an organization, and they offer feedback and recommendations for system change to senior management.

Purpose of the Ombudsman

The MSU Ombudsman* serves as a neutral resource providing confidential and informal assistance to members of the campus community. The Ombuds Office was established to provide a confidential, neutral resource for staff and faculty, to express concerns, identify options to address workplace conflicts, facilitate productive communication, and surface responsible concerns regarding university policies and practices.

Contact the Office of the Ombuds at any point during an issue when a confidential conversation or source of information may be needed. The Ombuds will listen to your concerns, give you information about University policies, help you evaluate your situation, and assist you in making plans to address the issue or conflict. You control the process and decide which course of action to take. Contacting the Ombuds Office is completely voluntary and you choose the course of action that is best suited to your interests.

* The terms "Ombudsman" and "Ombuds" are considered synonymous and are used interchangeably throughout this website

Authority of the Ombuds Office

The Ombuds has the authority to contact senior officers of the University, to gather information in the course of looking into a problem, to mediate or negotiate settlements to disputes, to bring concerns to the attention of those in authority, and to attempt to expedite administrative processes. Also, although the Ombuds do not have the power to change University rules or policies, they can make recommendations for change to those with the authority to implement them. Often the Ombuds recommendations are based on perceived trends. While the Ombuds does not keep records of specific complaints or problems, the Office does keep track of general statistical patterns and brings concerns to the attention to those with the authority to make institutional improvements. These data may signal emerging issues, indicate new trends, highlight vulnerable groups of employees, or suggest areas of improvement. The data collection never includes details that could identify individuals' confidential information.