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How the Ombuds can help

The Ombuds strives to help all members of the Stanford community to achieve a fair and equitable resolution to their concerns and complaints.

What the Ombuds Does:

  • Meet individually with visitors to hear their concerns and help identify and evaluate options to address them
  • Coach individuals on how to manage a difficult situation or engage in a difficult conversation
  • Provide referrals to other university resources
  • Provide information of university policies
  • Facilitate conversations between individuals or groups locked in dispute
  • Provide an informal channel for attempting to resolve disputes; concerns of unfairness or bureaucratic entanglements
  • Provide feedback to university officials on trends indicating a systemic issue
  • Make recommendations for policy or institutional changes when appropriate
  • Provide a space for discussing sensitive concerns when confidentiality is important

Common issues brought to the Ombuds Office:


  • Appointments and hiring decisions
  • Promotion and tenure process
  • Intellectual property and authorship concerns
  • Interpersonal conflict with colleague or student


  • Conflicts with instructors or graduate advisors
  • Grade disputes
  • Thesis and dissertation issues
  • Disciplinary matters
  • Concerns regarding housing issues


  • Fear of retaliation, whistle-blowing
  • Conflicts with supervisors, co-workers, or subordinates
  • Performance appraisal issues
  • Promotion, demotion, and disciplinary measures

Other common issues include concerns regarding discrimination and harassment; possible ethical issues or other concerns regarding possible violations of Stanford policies.

The Ombuds does not: 

  • Make decisions for anyone
  • Offer legal advice or psychological counseling
  • Participate in any formal process - inside or outside of the university
  • Testify in any judicial or administrative proceeding 
  • Put the university on "notice" of any legal claim
  • Serve as an advocate for any person or entity
  • Address concerns unrelated to Stanford University