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How the Ombuds Can Help

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

What the Ombuds Does:

  • Meet individually with visitors to listen to their concerns and help identify and evaluate options for addressing them
  • Confidentially seek additional information to help inform their decision-making
  • Coach individuals on how to manage a difficult situation or engage in a challenging conversation
  • Provide information on university policies and processes and referrals to other university offices
  • Facilitate conversations between individuals  locked in dispute. Find out more information on what a facilitated conversation with the Ombuds looks like here: Facilitated Conversation FAQ's
  • Provide an informal channel for resolving concerns of unfairness or bureaucratic entanglements
  • Provide feedback to university officials on trends and 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:

The most common issue brought by all Stanford constituent groups to the Ombuds office are questions and concerns about how to navigate an interpersonal or professional conflict (especially in an evaluative relationship, e.g. supervisor-supervisee, faculty-advisee). The Ombuds also often answers questions about Stanford policies and processes (including issues of discrimination, harassment, mistreatment and Title IX) and makes referrals to other Stanford resources. 

In addition, some other commonly raised issues by constituency are: 


  • Appointments and hiring decisions
  • Promotion and tenure process
  • Intellectual property and authorship concerns


  • OCS questions
  • Grade disputes
  • Dissertation and graduation issues
  • Program dismissal and suspensions 
  • Housing issues

Staff/Postdoctoral Scholars:

  • Performance-related issues (e.g. promotion, demotion, written warnings, termination and performance appraisal issues)
  • Toxic work environment

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