What is the scope of the Office of Conflict Resolution and Ombuds Council?
The Office of Conflict Resolution and Ombuds Council is an independent, informal, neutral and confidential resource who provides assistance to members of the University community in exploring options to resolve problems, complaints and conflicts at a preliminary and informal level. This assistance functions as an early opportunity to explore options outside of formal administrative channels, supplementing them, but not replacing them. The Office of Conflict Resolution serves as a resource for those who seek informal guidance on policies, procedures and regulations affecting faculty and staff.
When might I contact the Office of Conflict Resolution?
The Office of Conflict Resolution is a resource which will provide informal and confidential services to faculty and staff. The following represents the types of issues or concerns that might necessitate the use these services are:
- Interpersonal or departmental office conflict
- University policies, procedures or regulations
- Unfair treatment, discrimination, and/or harassment
- Working conditions and assignments
- Performance evaluations
- Disciplinary actions
- Promotion and pay
- Individual Meetings
- Facilitating conversations for various parties
- Talking to third parties on behalf of the visitor
- Engaging a unit or department in assessing the climate
- Helping the visitor understand various options
What is outside the scope of the Ombudsperson?
The Office of Conflict Resolution does not breach confidentiality, determine “guilt” or “innocence”, make binding or administrative decisions, determine rights, give legal advice, or participate in formal campus proceedings or grievances. It also does not provide official interpretations of campus policy or procedures, but rather serves as an informal peer-based resource. The services offered by this office exist to counsel you informally to explore options for conflict resolution.
What is the role of the Office of Conflict Resolution?
The role of the Office of Conflict Resolution is to foster equitable treatment of all faculty and staff at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. The Ombuds Council exists as the neutral point of view in an informal and confidential environment. The office is a place where people can seek guidance on how to proceed when experiencing conflicts in the workplace. The office follows the principles of independence, neutrality, confidentiality, and informality.
What an Ombuds Council member does…
- Listens and discusses questions, concerns, and complaints
- Helps to identify and explore options to resolve concerns or complaints
- Explains UW-M policies and procedures
- Provides resources and referrals
- Facilitates dialogue between parties of conflict
- Maintains neutrality
- Provides advice on having a difficult conversation
What an Ombuds Council member does not do…
- Release information about those seeking services without written permission
- Maintain formal records
- Make changes in policy or administrative decisions
- Replace formal grievance or appeal processes
- Serve as an advocate
- Conduct formal investigations
- Testify as a witness in proceedings
- Make policy or administrative changes
- Require anyone to follow recommendations from meeting with a Ombuds Council member