What is an Ombuds Office?
At Wright State University, the office provides an independent, confidential environment for faculty, staff, and students to discuss campus-related concerns or problems. The Ombuds Office does not disclose confidential communications without the concerned individuals' permission, except as required by law or when, in the ombuds's judgment, there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.
The Ombuds Office reports to the vice provost for academic affairs, but such reporting is for budgetary and administrative purposes only and is limited to summary reports or recommendations that do not include any specific client information. This permits work that is free of undue pressure or influence, or even the appearance of external involvement that could compromise the impartiality, confidentiality, and objectivity that are the hallmarks of the Ombuds Office.
Why Might I Need an Ombuds?
When you are concerned about an issue, you may wish to consult with a neutral party who can help you to acquire perspective and assess a range of alternatives. The Wright State Ombuds Office provides a confidential environment where you can do just that, whether you are a faculty member, a student, or a staff member. To the extent that disclosure of information about a student’s life at the university is permitted by law, parents or legal guardians of students may also receive our assistance.
History of Ombuds
The modern use of the term "ombudsman" (also sometimes called "ombudsperson," "ombuds," or "ombud") began in Sweden with the Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsman instituted in 1809 to safeguard the rights of citizens. The essential characteristic of these offices, no matter their designation or scope of responsibilities, is that they continue the tradition of safeguarding individuals' rights. At Wright State, the Ombuds Office was established to provide a confidential resource to support the campus community and provide feedback to the university administration regarding campus concerns.
The ombuds will hold the identity and communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and will not disclose information without the concerned individuals' permission, except as required by law or when, in the ombuds' judgment, there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.
The Ombuds does not provide psychological counseling, advocacy, or legal advice but instead seeks to empower and inform community members to handle their concerns through the appropriate channels. The ombudsperson also provides input on policy and practices to reduce confusion, address gaps or chronic misinterpretation, and promote equity, inclusion, and institutional fairness.
If a student needs legal advice, please consult Student Legal Services. If a student needs counseling or advocacy, please reach out to the Office of Student Advocacy and Wellness. If an employee needs counseling, please reach out to the Employee Assistance Program.
Wright State Ombuds: Greg Scharer
Greg Scharer was appointed to the position of ombuds in August 2021. Greg brings a wealth of experience to the role: he has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland and is a trained mediator. He also has extensive experience in government policy, community referrals, and mental health.
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