The Office of the Ombudsperson supports the values of personal integrity, responsibility, civility, respect, equity, diversity, and community that enable the College to advance its mission.
This website presents information about the activities of the Office of the Ombudsperson at Hood College, and also provides information about ways in which one might approach some of the more difficult issues and questions of ethics, conduct, and interpersonal relations that can arise while living and working in a community such as ours. The Ombudsperson is available to members of all College constituencies, including students, faculty, and staff, to provide counsel and assistance in resolving such issues. Links are provided to additional resources located on the internet.
Welcome to the Office of the Ombudsperson. Hood College is committed to providing a learning and working environment in which the dignity and worth of every member of our community is emphasized. The Ombudsperson’s Office offers a safe place where students, faculty, and staff may speak confidentially about conflicts and other matters of concern and can obtain guidance in a candid and authentic manner without fear of reprisal. Efforts are geared toward managing conflict and improving the student life experience and work environment. The office subscribes to the Code of Ethics of the International Ombudsman Association which puts forth four guiding principles of Independence, Neutrality and Impartiality, Confidentiality, and Informality. To learn more about these principles, visit the IOA Code of Ethics.
The Ombudsperson's Office can assist you in several ways by:
- Providing a safe, confidential, and nonjudgmental forum to surface individual, group and systemic problems
- Listening to and helping clarify student or employee concerns
- Helping an employee identify underlying issues and interests
- Providing information and exploring possible options available to a student or employee
- Aiding someone in deciding for themself which option (including doing nothing more) is the best option to pursue
- Coaching someone on how to deal with the problem directly
- Where voluntarily agreed to by the involved parties, facilitating discussions to resolve issues, if appropriate
- Collecting general data on emerging trends and patterns at the College that give rise to conflict
- Evaluating and analyzing trending information and making systemic recommendations for positive changes in policy or practice
The services of the Ombudsperson’s Office are free and available to any College constituent when the need arises.
Hood College understands that there are occasions when you might need to talk through College-related concerns with a person who is knowledgeable about the issues (or can find out about them), who brings a neutral viewpoint to those issues, and who can help you gain some perspective, develop and weigh options, and even find solutions. Those issues may include things such as supervisory or roommate issues, workplace disputes, policy interpretation questions, unprofessional conduct, or unfair treatment. Hood's Ombudsperson is available to students, faculty, and staff to discuss these and other issues. The Ombudsperson provides an informal and confidential setting where you can voluntarily voice your concerns and discuss your situation. The Ombudsperson doesn't take sides, focusing instead on promoting open, meaningful communication and understanding between disputants and/or about an issue.
The Ombudsperson can help you work in an informal way through most kinds of interpersonal conflict, though by law they are not authorized to mediate cases of sexual misconduct. They can, however, help you to navigate the formal process. If you are experiencing interpersonal conflict that does not involve sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, or threats of physical harm, violence, child abuse, or the commission of a felony, the Ombudsperson may suggest that you and the other party attempt a mediation. Please see the section on mediation to learn more about how it might help you both.
If you wish to speak to the Ombudsperson in strict confidence, you should know that they are required to report some situations involving possible violence to self or others in order to protect members of the Hood community, and that, in so doing, they may need to share details, including the names of persons involved, with campus authorities.
The following resources offer a higher level of confidentiality (though they are required to report certain cases of child abuse, and threats of homicide or suicide):
- The Hood Counseling Center (301-696-3103)
- The Hood Health Center (301-698-8374, Option 1)
- The Office of the Dean of the Chapel (301-696-3436)
- National Suicide & Crisis 24/7 Hotline: 9-8-8
- The Heartly House (24-hour) Crisis Hotline (301-662-8800)
- You have a concern about any aspect of your academic life, work life, or student life at the College.
- You are unsure about the policies, rights, procedures, and responsibilities that apply to your situation. The Ombudsperson may be able to provide confidential guidance and support.
- You need a sounding board to help you generate options and/or solutions to an issue or a challenge you face.
- You feel that your studies, interpersonal relationships, or work life, have been adversely affected by the conduct or behavior of another person and you would like help in resolving this issue or these circumstances.
- You need someone to facilitate communication between yourself and another member of the College community.
The Ombuds person will do their utmost to help.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org(mailto:email@example.com). You may send email at any time, but please allow up to 24 hours for a response.