Frequently Asked Questions

What is an ombudsperson (known also as ombuds or ombudsman)?

An ombudsperson is a neutral person who can assist in resolving concerns and disputes in an informal, confidential, impartial manner. We support individuals and groups, optimize the effectiveness of university programs and services, and enhance the safety culture and learning environment at MUSC.

How does the ombuds handle issues brought by faculty?

This program provides a safe and confidential place for you to seek information, discuss concerns and disputes, explore your options, and identify helpful resources that may be available to you. The office’s goal is to offer constructive strategies to deal with challenging situations. We utilize listening, coaching, informal consulting, facilitated meetings with other parties, shuttle diplomacy, and referrals to other existing services.

Who can use the MUSC faculty ombuds program?

The ombuds program is offered as a no-charge service to MUSC faculty.

What will an ombuds NOT do?

We do not provide legal advice or psychological counseling.

How is the ombuds office different from other services?

We provide faculty a confidential service on campus for faculty designed to complement rather than replace other formal processes. We are an informal and confidential resource that helps faculty identify their options in a given situation.

When should I contact the ombuds program?

Our services are available as needed, and you are required to contact the ombuds before getting seeking assistance elsewhere.

Does visiting the ombuds put MUSC on notice?

No. We are a confidential, impartial, informal, and independent program and therefore meeting with us does not put the university on notice.  If you would intend to put the university on notice or get something on the record, you should use alternate avenues.

Would there ever be an exception to confidentiality with the ombuds?

Yes. The International Ombudsman Association Standards of Practice & Code of Ethics guide our practice. Important exceptions to confidentiality include the occasion when the ombuds believes the failure to disclose information creates an imminent risk of serious harm to the visitor or to others. Additionally, the ombuds violates confidentiality where expressly required by state or federal law (e.g. child abuse or neglect) or if ordered by a court with the appropriate authority.

Is the ombuds a mandatory reporter for Title IX or prohibited discrimination?

No. The MUSC faculty ombuds is a designated confidential resource and therefore not obligated to report situations that may implicate Title IX or prohibited discrimination. The only exceptions to ombuds confidentiality are child abuse or neglect; imminent risk of serious harm to the visitor or another person; or the order of a court with appropriate authority.

Can the ombuds come with me to my performance review?

No. The ombuds program is an informal one and therefore does not participate in formal processes. The ombuds will not participate as a witness because the ombuds cannot be called upon afterwards to verify that something was or was not said.

Does the ombuds maintain records?

The MUSC Faculty Ombuds Office does not maintain records of individual visits or any information that identifies the visitor that can identify the person. The ombuds may keep short-term working notes as necessary to keep track of commitments and follow-up activities which are shred at the completion of the case. The ombuds does keep limited de-identified information so the program can track general trends and to help MUSC identify opportunities for systemic improvements.

Will I remain anonymous?

If you wish to remain anonymous, the ombuds will address your concern in a way that preserves your anonymity whenever possible. The best way to remain anonymous is contacting the MUSC faculty ombuds by phone.