The Ombuds provides you with a confidential, informal, neutral and independent place to:

  • Develop options
  • Obtain referrals
  • Clarify University policies and procedures
  • Identify tools to achieve academic, professional, and personal success

All conversations are off the record.


During your visit with the Ombuds, you will:

  • Focus on the issues, not people or personalities
  • Work collaboratively to address problems
  • Identify and discuss creative solutions and resources
  • Save or repair important relationships during conflict
  • Redirect your attention to your work and studies


The Ombuds Does: 

  • Listen
  • Help analyze a problem
  • Identify and explain relevant University policies and procedures
  • Help identify options
  • Make referrals to other campus resources
  • Provide coaching on effective conflict management
  • Carry out shuttle diplomacy by serving as a go-between to resolve issues
  • Facilitate group discussions
  • Mediate conflicts

The Ombuds Does Not:

  • Adjudicate/Make decisions 
  • Make policies
  • Keep records 
  • Disclose any identifying information without permission/consent
  • Give legal advice
  • Testify
  • Serve as an Agent of Notice for the University
  • Participate in Grievances or Other Formal Processes
  • Provide Therapy
  • Advocate for any Party to a Conflict


The Fairness Triangle

The Fairness Triangle portrays the three dimensions of fairness to be considered in an individual’s experience: Relational, Procedural and Substantive. It can be a helpful tool to consider in the decision-making process.

Relational Fairness addresses how one is treated.

  • Being approachable;
  • Listening actively;
  • Respecting confidentiality;
  • Being honest and forthright;
  • Making information clear and easily available;
  • Providing accessible problem-solving options;
  • Being clear about what you can and cannot do; and
  • Offering an apology if a mistake is made.

Substantive Fairness addresses the decision itself.

  • Having the appropriate authority to make the decision itself;
  • Ensuring that decisions are made on relevant information;
  • Ensuring that decisions are not unjust, oppressive or discriminatory;
  • Ensuring that decisions are not wrong in fact or law; and
  • Ensuring that decisions are reasonable.


Procedural Fairness addresses processes used in making the decision.

  • Providing notice that a decision is to be made along with sufficient information for an affected person to know what is required and what is at stake;
  • Providing an appropriate forum for an affected person to present their views and to be heard;
  • Being impartial and unbiased;
  • Making a decision in a reasonable time; and
  • Providing clear and appropriate reasons for a decision.


The Fairness Triangle was initially developed by Ombudsman Saskatchewan and adapted by the University of Victoria Ombudsperson. It is meant to be a tool to guide decision-making and is not university policy. It is also important to note that fairness does not necessarily equate to an outcome in your favor.

*The above information is from

Making an Appointment

While walk-ins are welcome, appointments are encouraged, so the Ombuds can reserve enough time for you. To make an appointment, please contact us or schedule a meeting with Elizabeth Stone, University Ombuds.

The Ombuds Office operates according to the International Ombuds Association (IOA) Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

Contact Us


Ely Center 113

(202) 559-5079

(202) 448-7175

9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm

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