Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will my conversation/correspondence with the Ombudspersons be confidential?

A: Yes, it will. For some situations, we may be able to provide better service if we are able to discuss specific aspects of a student complaint or problem with other parties involved. However, we will honor a student’s request for confidentiality unless the information provided represents a safety threat or is considered a Title IX or sexual misconduct/gender based harassment situation. In those cases, we must alert the Title IX Coordinators and cannot guarantee confidentiality, but can promise privacy.

Q: What types of problems does the office handle?

A: The Student Ombudspersons will talk with a student about a problem or concern in any area of university life. Students should consider contacting the Student Ombudspersons when they:

  • have a question about an existing policy or believe that a procedure or regulation has been applied unfairly.
  • want to discuss a situation in a confidential setting with someone knowledgeable about University policies to decide how to proceed in resolving the issue.
  • are not sure who they should contact to discuss a particular problem or situation.
  • want support in interactions with university administrators, professors, or other students.

Some common concerns students bring to the office by students involve: housing and dining, student health insurance, safety concerns, grades, transcripts, and disciplinary hearings.

Q: Can the Office of the Student Ombudsperson offer me legal representation?

A: The Student Ombudspersons cannot give legal advice or act as legal representation.

Q: Can the Office of the Student Ombudsperson compel a University official to overturn a decision or change a rule?

A: The Student Ombudspersons cannot compel the University to make changes to policies or decisions involving individuals. The Student Ombudspersons can reason and negotiate with university officials to re-assess procedures and policies that do not seem adequate and/or just. Where adequate formal rules and/or procedures are found not to exist, the Office of the Student Ombudsperson can negotiate for the creation of such standards.

Q: Does reporting a situation or complaint to the Office of the Student Ombudsperson constitute having notified the University of Chicago of the problem or complaint on an official level?

A: No. However, the Student Ombudspersons can direct you to necessary resources and will support you through the process of officially reporting situations or problems to the University. Except in situations where a Title IX or sexual misconduct/gender based harassment situation is being discussed, then we must disclose in an official capacity to the Title IX Coordinators so students can receive support/resources, and general information.