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Office of the Ombuds

Information for Student Visitors

An Ombuds provides confidential and informal assistance in the resolution of university-related concerns, especially those not being addressed adequately through normal procedures. He or she is an independent person who attempts to consider all sides of an issue in an impartial and objective manner. An Ombuds cannot impose solutions but can help identify options and strategies for resolution. The Ombuds office operates informally and has no authority or role in any formal process on campus. The ombuds can discuss how you may access one of these formal channels as may be appropriate in various circumstances but does not participate in any formal proceeding.

All communication with the Ombuds Office is understood to be confidential. The Ombuds will not confirm communicating with any party or disclose information without that party's permission, except in cases where there is an imminent risk of harm to self or others.

Please note that email is not considered confidential. If you have an interest in ensuring the confidentiality of our communications, be mindful of what information you share via email, and consider using the telephone or a face-to-face conversation instead.

The Ombuds office is impartial, serving as neither advocate nor apologist for any members or offices of the USC Aiken community. The goal of the Ombuds is to empower a visitor with options, knowledge, consultation, information, and objective, non-binding advice.

This office does not provide legal advocacy, legal services, or legal advice.

How We Can Help

The Office of the Ombuds will provide students with an informal, confidential, impartial and independent resource to address interpersonal issues or questions openly and without fear of reprisal or judgment.  It will provide a venue for complaints, conflicts, or concerns that students may not know how to address through other official University channels.  These might include interpersonal conflicts or questions about University policies, practices, or services.

In response to student concerns or complaints, the Office of the Ombuds may provide assistance by:

  • Listening carefully and without judgment to concerns
  • Clarifying University policies and procedures
  • Helping students explore and evaluate options on how to proceed
  • Referring students to appropriate University resources
  • Coaching students on effective communication tactics and other means of de-escalating and resolving interpersonal conflicts
  • Engaging in shuttle diplomacy and/or informal mediation, where appropriate 

While the Ombuds will not have authority to take formal action in response to complaints, he or she may help students file formal complaints by providing them with relevant information.

The Office of the Ombuds does not and will not circumvent formal processes already in place by the University. Instead, its goal is collaboration.

In the event that the Ombuds and other campus resources are unable to assist you with your problem, you do have the right to file a complaint through the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. 

Learn More About Filing a Complaint (SC Commission on Higher Education)

Learn More About Reporting a Bias Incident

About the Ombuds Office

About the Bias Incident Team