Montana State University
Montana State University > University Ombuds

University Ombuds

campus pan west

The University Ombuds is a neutral, independent, and confidential resource providing informal assistance to MSU professional staff, faculty, and classified employees in addressing work-related issues.

The Ombuds Role

The Ombuds is an independent, neutral person designated to assist in resolving conflicts and addressing concerns.

The MSU Ombuds does the following:

  • Acts impartially and confidentially
  • Advocates for fairness and equality
  • Provides a mechanism for early problem resolution
  • Considers all sides of an issue in an informed, unbiased fashion
  • Promotes better communication

The Ombuds provides the following services:

  • Provides a safe place to share confidencesresized hand on door
  • Listens without criticizing
  • Helps analyze complex and difficult situations
  • Answers questions
  • Helps access MSU policies and procedures
  • Helps construct non-adversarial approaches
  • Facilitates a just resolution of problems and disputes
  • Refers individuals to appropriate MSU resources

The Ombuds does not do the following:

  • Accept or provide notice of an alleged violation
  • Serve as part of any formal grievance or complaint process
  • Advocate for any individual
  • Share information with others without an individual's knowledge or permission
  • Conduct formal investigations
  • Issue investigative reports of any kind
  • Testify or serve as a witness
  • Make or change policy or administrative decisions
  • Make binding decisions or determine rights
  • Require anyone to follow Ombuds recommendations

The Ombuds uses conflict resolution methods such as mediation, facilitation, conciliation, and shuttle diplomacy to help resolve issues.

When to contact the Ombuds

  • When you are unclear about MSU policies, processes, and procedures and how they apply to you
  • When you are uncertain where to take a work problem
  • When you want an independent facilitator to assist you in working through a problem
  • When you feel you have been unfairly treated or an MSU policy has been applied unfairly or erroneously or is itself unfair
  • When you have a question regarding some aspect of MSU

The Ombuds Pledge to the MSU Community

The Ombuds is committed to work with integrity and to employ the highest professional standards while handling your concerns confidentially. The Ombuds will not disclose or discuss any confidential matter without your knowledge and permission, to the extent permitted by law. This includes not revealing the following:

  • The identity of individuals who come to the Ombuds office
  • The identity of contacts made by the Ombuds in resolving an issue
  • Specific details and circumstances of matters handled
  • Any materials related to specific cases

The Ombuds will preserve confidentiality except for threats of imminent harm.

In performing its function, the Ombuds operates under The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the International Ombudsman Association.

The Ombuds reports directly to the President and issues an annual report of Ombuds activities. This report is designed to identify trends and patterns and is strictly demographic, with no information available that would identify individuals who have used the office. The annual report is provided to the President, Provost, Faculty Council, Professional Council, and CEPAC. Links to annual reports are available on this website.

How to contact the Ombuds

Contact the Ombuds by telephone, mail, or in person. You may contact the Ombuds by e-mail, but it is not a secure mode of communication.

The Ombuds position is currently vacant.

Standards of Practice
Code of Ethics