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Ombuds' Roles & Responsibilities

The A&S Graduate Ombudsperson is appointed by the Dean of Arts and Sciences and the Vice Dean of Research and Graduate Studies with the approval of the President and the Provost.

The Ombudsperson acts as a source of information and assistance to A&S Graduate students concerning graduate life generally and university-related academic and non-academic rules, regulations, and procedures. The Ombudsperson also works, when requested, to achieve a prompt, fair and satisfactory resolution of graduate student problems and concerns. The policy permits the ombudsperson to discuss problems or concerns privately and confidentially.

According to William & Mary policy, the A&S Graduate Ombudsperson is expected to:

  • Assist A&S graduate students who wish to discuss with a neutral party a problem or concern, those who need assistance in resolving a problem or concern, those who need assistance identifying the appropriate university official or office to whom they should address their problem or concern, or those who have sought unsuccessfully to resolve a problem or concern by other established procedures.
  • Discuss difficulties or complaints of A&S graduate students privately and confidentially. The Ombudsperson will not disclose the identity of any person who seeks assistance or the identity of any person involved in a dispute without that person's permission, except as required by law or university policy. No individual shall be retaliated against for using the services of the Ombudsperson.
  • Provide such assistance as the Ombudsperson, in his/her sole discretion, deems appropriate under the circumstances, including the provision of investigative, counseling, mediation, and conflict resolution services. The Ombudsperson will seek to resolve problems and concerns in a manner that is satisfactory to all parties involved. The Ombudsperson will have no special right of access to confidential records, including personnel files, student records, or medical records.
  • Make recommendations to any party concerned, including policy recommendations. The ombudsperson has no authority to make binding decisions on behalf of any party.
  • The Ombudsperson will maintain adequate records of all activities, subject to the confidentiality provisions set for the above, and will prepare annual reports that will be made available to the W&M community.
  • When a faculty member is acting in his or her role as the Graduate Student Ombudsperson, the faculty member is a confidential resource and is not required to report allegations of sexual harassment to other W&M offices