LAWRENCE — The American Bar Association has declared Oct. 11 as Ombuds Day, and to mark the occasion the University of Kansas Ombuds Office will hold an “Ask the KU Ombuds” event all day on Twitter.
University Ombuds D.A. Graham and Faculty Ombuds Maria Orive are looking forward to the opportunity to interact with KU students, faculty and staff and share information on the sometimes-overlooked services the office provides. The office’s Twitter account can be found online or @KUOmbuds on the Twitter app.
“The day, which was created by the Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Section Ombuds Committee, is designed to put a spotlight on a profession that has existed for centuries yet remains relatively unknown,” Graham said. “I hope to show the value of having an ombuds program in organizations, government, etc., and encourage the use of ombuds programs.”
Ombuds are found in a wide variety of organizations, including universities, government agencies, health care institutions, corporations, financial institutions, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, the media and international organizations.
The Ombuds Office gives members of the KU community an avenue to seek independent, confidential and impartial assistance in addressing conflicts, disputes or complaints on an informal basis without fear of retaliation, loss of privacy or judgment. An ombuds is not an advocate for individuals, Graham said, but is an advocate for fair process. The office assists students, staff and faculty on the Lawrence and Edwards campuses and adheres to the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics..
Members of the KU community are encouraged to reach out to the Ombuds Office anytime they need its services. During the Ombuds Day, “Ask the KU Ombuds” individuals have an opportunity to pose questions about what services the office offers, how the staff work and even ask general questions without identifying information about conflict resolution. These posts will be answered publicly through the Twitter feed. Individuals who don’t use Twitter can email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions about specific conflicts or with identifying information can be asked by email or through a Twitter direct message. Responses to these inquiries will remain private.
This year marks the inaugural Ombuds Day. The ABA has designated the second Thursday of October as Ombuds Day to coincide with Conflict Resolution Month and Mediation Week.