The Office of the Student Ombuds provides an informal, impartial, neutral, and confidential environment where Main Campus and Medical Center graduate students can discuss University-related concerns and disputes.
The Student Ombuds office can listen, help students achieve a greater understanding of the problem and possible solutions, and look for information applicable to the situation. The Ombuds office does not advocate for any individual point of view, and does not participate in any formal grievance process, but works to promote a fair process for all.
The function of the Student Ombuds Officer is to listen
thoughtfully and sympathetically to the concerns of graduate students and to assist them in identifying options for addressing their concerns.
Issues and Concerns
A graduate student might bring to the Office of the Student Ombuds for issues such as:
- Perceived irregularities with academic policies and practices
- Concerns about fairness of process
- Disrespectful or inappropriate behavior
- Interpersonal disputes or conflicts
- Stressful academic / assistantship conditions
The Office of the Student Ombuds can:
- Listen to graduate student concerns
- Explain policies and their application to specific cases
- Help graduate students identify and consider options for resolving conflicts with colleagues and advisors at the University
- Strategize about a conversation with a colleague or supervisor
- Facilitate a difficult conversation
- Facilitate contact with human resources or dean’s offices
- Refer graduate students to formal complaint or appeal procedures when warranted
- Refer graduate students to other resources available on campus.
Visitors to the office can expect a response from the Student Ombuds within 48 hours.Back to Top
The Ombuds Officer assists the visitor in identifying options that might bring resolution to a problem, suggests appropriate referrals, or might offer to mediate in a dispute.
The Ombuds Officer is guided and informed by the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the International Ombudsman Association, and by the principles and policies regarding graduate students’ rights and responsibilities enumerated in the Graduate Student Handbook.Back to Top
The Student Ombuds Office will not identify you or any
information concerning your visit without your permission, except in
certain situations where disclosure is required by law (e.g. a court order, potential risk to self or others, unlawful harassment, etc.). Speaking to the Student Ombuds Office about a concern does not constitute legal notice to Georgetown University. Anyone wishing to put the University on notice, that is, to make the University formally aware of a particular problem, may contact a supervisor or administrator or invoke formal grievance procedures. The Student Ombuds Office can provide referral information about who to contact for anyone seeking to use administrative or formal grievance options.
Other Resources for Graduate Students
Graduate students may come to the Ombuds Office because they have concerns about their academic environment that they want to discuss in an informal and confidential setting. However, there are a variety of other resources available to graduate students for other issues and needs:
The Graduate Student Ombuds Officer cannot become involved in any way in cases of academic evaluation, including grades or examinations such as oral exams and dissertation defenses. In all cases involving academic evaluation, the role of the Graduate Student Ombuds Officer will be limited to explaining policy, and referring the student to a formal appeals process, when warranted. The procedures for graduate students with grievances regarding grades and/or termination of a degree are described in the Graduate School’s “Graduate Bulletin” under the Policies section of this site.
Cases in which a graduate student feels that he or she has been
discriminated against by a faculty member or university administrator or harassed by a faculty member, university administrator, or colleague should be taken to the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action (IDEAA) (http://ideaa.georgetown.edu).
Graduate students with concerns about compliance or ethics in their
University workplace can consult with the Office of Compliance and
Graduate students with concerns about possible violations of academic integrity should consult the Graduate School Bulletin (available under the Policies section of our website) and talk to a member of the Graduate School staff.
Complaints about serious unprofessional behavior in an academic
context on the part of either faculty or academic administrators should be addressed first to the relevant Director of Graduate Studies, Program Director, or administrative head for informal resolution. Procedures for submitting a formal complaint, if informal resolution is not reached, are described on our Other University Polices page.
International Graduate Students
International graduate students with concerns about legal issues,
especially immigration and visa issues, should contact International
Student and Scholar Services in the Office of Global Services (OGS) at: http://internationalservices.georgetown.edu
Medical School Students
Medical School students should contact the Medical Student Ombuds. Detailed information is available via the Medical School Student Handbook, Appendix E, at: http://som.georgetown.edu/studentservices/administrative/studenthandbook.
The Medical School Ombuds is Stacey Kaltman, Ph.D. She can be
contacted in her office: 2115 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 120; via
phone (202) 687-6571; or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Law students should contact the Dean of Students
students/index.cfm for information about the Law Student Ombuds.
Faculty Ombuds Office
Faculty members should contact the Faculty Ombuds