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Ombudsman

What is an Ombudsman?

The Ombudsman is a student advocate. The Ombudsman respectfully listens to each student’s concerns and assists them in evaluating a situation from all perspectives. Students experiencing issues, complaints or disputes may begin their process for an informal resolution with the Office of the Ombudsman. This office serves as a welcoming and confidential resource in guiding students toward options and in providing or explaining information for the purpose of navigating a process. This office believes in treating all parties fairly and will remain a neutral and independent source in all matters.


What services can the Office of the Ombudsman assist you with?

The Ombudsman is a good listener. Through conversation(s) the Ombudsman will attempt to develop a clear understanding of the issue(s) the student is experiencing. Below are some issues the Ombudsman may be able to provide you with. They are:

  • Assistance with grade appeals
  • Help with academic concerns
  • Understand, clarify or provide information related to the College’s policies and procedures
  • Provide information about the College’s policies and procedures
  • Identify other resources that may be helpful
  • Explore alternatives methods for resolving complaints
  • Discuss  appropriate strategies for dealing with a difficult situation

Ethical Principles Guiding the Practice of the Ombudsman

The Ombudsman Office is guided by a Code of Ethics from the International Ombudsman Association (IOA).


Independence

The Ombudsman is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible at Palm Beach State College.


Neutrality and Impartiality

The Ombudsman, as a designated neutral, remains unaligned and impartial. The Ombudsman strives to promote procedural fairness in the content and administration of Palm Beach State College’s practices, processes, and policies. The Ombudsman does not engage in any situation that could create a conflict of interest.


Confidentiality

The Ombudsman holds the identity and all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so, except as required by law, or where, in the judgment of the Ombudsman, there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.


Informality

The Ombudsman, as an informal resource, does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to his/her attention. As an informal resource, the Ombudsman is not authorized to accept notice (formal complaints) for Palm Beach State College. Moreover, because the Ombudsman holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, subject to the limited exceptions detailed above, the Ombudsman will not forward information received in confidence.


How we can support you?

  • By actively listening to your concerns
  • By empathizing with you, the student
  • By discussing options for working effectively with College stakeholders
  • By Identifying relevant policies and procedures
  • By sharing information about a process
  • By assisting you with an appeals process

Expectations of the Ombudsman Office

  • Provide a safe space for confidential conversation
  • Support a fair process
  • Assist students in locating resources for their situation
  • Explain the College’s policies and procedures
  • Facilitate communication between all parties
  • May recommend policy changes when necessary

The Ombudsman Office Does NOT

  • Breach confidentiality without permission
  • Make final decisions on any issue
  • Act as a witness or advocate in any formal processes
  • Maintain documentation or record of any concern
  • Formally participate in any grievance processes or conduct formal investigations
  • Provide legal counsel
  • Ignore or circumvent existing College policies and procedures

Ombudsman Resources

PBSC Disability Services

Florida Department of Education Equity and Civil Rights Compliance

PBSC Diversity

PBSC Catalog

PBSC Student Handbook

PBSC Anonymous Reporting

PBSC District Board of Trustees Policies

PBSC Security Office

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