We provide the university community with the opportunity to discuss issues outside of formal channels. Our services are available free of charge to all members of the NIU community, including students, faculty and staff.
Our process is nonconfrontational, impartial, informal and confidential. The ombudsperson will:
Listen to you and analyze your situation.
Answer questions and provide information.
Offer advice and help develop solutions.
Please note: Our office is not authorized to accept notice of claims on behalf of NIU; communication with the office does not constitute "official notice" to the university.
Conflict, Problem and Resolution Consultation
The ombudsperson consults with the NIU community on a variety of topics. We encourage you to contact us if you:
Are uncertain about which university policy, procedure or regulation applies to your situation.
Feel that you have been unfairly treated by a university employee.
Feel that a university policy, procedure or regulation is unfair, or has been applied unfairly or incorrectly.
Need to know who has the authority to make an exception to a rule or policy.
Need to know how to make a formal complaint or grievance.
We help negotiate solutions to problems. The ombudsperson can facilitate communication between individuals or groups in order to resolve conflicts.
If needed, we'll direct you to the individuals with the authority or specific expertise to address your concern.
Policy and Procedure Development
The ombudsperson is available as a consultant in the development of policies and procedures. This can help ensure consistency with other institutional practices and avoid problems with implementation.
The ombudsperson also observes trends developing in the campus community. They inform the NIU administration about significant trends and recommend changes to policies and procedures.
We also provide the following to the NIU community:
Presentations to your group about our services or a topic of interest.
Notary public services in our office, free of charge.
Confidential review of letters and documents for clarity and effectiveness.
Coaching and leadership development.
We do not disclose information regarding the identities of visitors to our office, or the content of our conversations. Exceptions to this rule include if we have a concern of an imminent risk of physical harm, if we have a concern about child abuse, or if required to make a confidential report for inclusion in the Annual Safety and Security Report under the Clery Act. The identity of the reporting party will not be disclosed when making the report for inclusion purposes.
What We Don't Do
The ombudsperson cannot:
Give legal advice.
Conduct formal investigations.
Change rules, policies or procedures.
Participate in a formal hearing or grievance process.
Override the authority of other university officials.
Engage in activities that could be seen as advocating for an individual.