Ombuds Office Guiding Principles

The Ombuds Office follows Standards of Practice set forth by the International Ombuds Association (IOA), which are derived from the ethical principles of the IOA Code of Ethics.

Confidentiality
The Ombuds Office asserts the privilege of confidentiality with regard to all communications. The office safeguards the privacy of those who use the office – their identities, the concerns they raise and the content of their communications – and will not disclose anything without their permission. The only exceptions are when a visitor shares something that suggests an imminent risk of serious harm, including instances of unreported exposure to coronavirus or a diagnosis of COVID-19. In such instances, disclosure will be necessary. The Ombuds Office does not maintain permanent records of confidential communications and resists testifying in any formal proceeding, even if requested by a visitor to do so. This privilege is held by the Ombuds Office and cannot be waived by others.

Informality
Individuals may be referred to the Ombuds Office, but no one is required to make use of its services. Communications with the office are voluntary and "off the record." They are not a part of nor a substitute for a formal investigation, such as a grievance hearing, judicial board review or peer review. The Ombuds Office is an informal channel and not appropriate for putting Wake Tech on official notice about any matter. Control of both the problem and the solution is retained by the visitor.

Neutrality/Impartiality
The Ombuds Office is a designated neutral that works impartially with visitors and groups and has no personal stake in the outcome of any dispute. The office represents the institution's commitment to fairness and functions to help individuals understand each other and seek mutually agreeable solutions. As such, the Ombuds Office does not take sides and does not judge, discipline or reward anyone.

Independence
The Ombuds Office is not part of any college department and has no agenda other than providing fair and impartial assistance, as described above.