Q&A with university ombudsperson| March 21, 2008
Following is a Q&A with Tatia Daniels Granger, who serves the College as ombudsperson. —Ed.
Q) What do you do as the university ombudsperson?
A) The term "ombudsperson" is a Swedish word that was originally used to identify a public official who investigated citizens' complaints against government agencies. At the College, the ombudsperson will listen to staff concerns, issues, conflicts and complaints and facilitate information and resource-sharing toward mutually agreeable resolutions.
Q) Who can use your services?
A) The position has been designated to specifically address the concerns of hourly and classified staff, as there are similar resources available on campus for others.
Q) What kind of concerns can people bring to you?
A) Staff are welcome to share, in confidence, workplace concerns, issues, and conflicts when other administrative processes and procedures have not worked satisfactorily. The ombudsperson is especially interested in helping to resolve issues where employees perceive a sense of unfairness in the workplace.
Q) What should people not expect from you?
A) The university ombudsperson will not:
• Represent any party in a dispute.
• Guarantee a resolution.
• Render judgments or make binding decisions about issues raised.
• Discuss information shared by employees without their express consent or permission.
• Modify in any way W&M policies and procedures in working toward resolutions.
• Provide legal advice.
• Offer psychological counseling.
• Conduct "formal" investigations.
• Determine "innocence" or "guilt" of any party involved in a conflict.
• Participate in grievance processes or lawsuits. Instead, the Ombudsperson may assist with arranging mediation or direct individuals to the appropriate policies governing the grievance process.
• Address issues not related to W&M.
• Serve as an office of notice to W&M.
Q) What other offices or organizations are you affiliated with?
A) The university ombudsperson operates independently of all other institutional offices and organizations and reports directly to the provost, with full access to the president. The ombudsperson will work in partnership with any office or organization on campus toward the resolution of employee concerns.
Q) How can people contact you?
A) By phone at (757) 221-1941 or [[tdgranger,email]].