A confidential and impartial resource for students
The Ombudsperson Office recognizes that within Dalhousie there are different levels of power and privilege between us that influence how we work with one another. The Ombudsperson is committed to educating the community and will endeavour to find ways to work together that recognize and challenge inequalities.
The Ombudsperson Office is available to all Dalhousie students for free, confidential, impartial, and independent support to help resolve any university-related concerns. It does not advocate for individual students/groups, or the university involved in a disagreement. The office works with students, faculty, and staff to ensure just, fair, and equitable treatment of every student, and to support the reasonable resolution of complaints rather than assign blame to one party.
The Ombudsperson makes recommendations when trends, patterns, policies, or procedures of the university generate concerns or conflicts and promotes discussion on institution-wide concerns to support the interest of all parties and the experience of students at Dalhousie University.
What does the Ombudsperson do?
- Provides general resource information and makes appropriate referrals
- Identifies and explains relevant university processes/policies
- Works with students to explore and strategize options for problem-solving
- Empowers students to deal directly and effectively with their concerns
- Facilitates discussions and makes inquiries for clarification to seek resolution
- Gives sound and practical advising
- Listens and provides an objective perspective
The Ombudsperson does not:
- Act as an advocate; an Ombudsperson must remain impartial
- Replace existing resources or channels for resolution
- Intervene where a formal process (appeal, grievance, legal proceeding) has been commenced or overturn/influence decisions
- Provide counselling or legal advice
- Decide who is right or wrong
- Change decisions, policies, or regulations; Ombudsperson can only make recommendations
- Receive complaints, intervene, or assist in matters unrelated to the University
Types of issues the Ombudsperson deals with:
- Student and supervisor/instructor/professor relationships
- Abuse of power, bullying, or unfair treatment
- Unsure about which rules, policies, or procedures applicable to your situation
- Concern that a particular rule or policy has been applied unfairly
- Facilitate communication between you and a university administrator, or student
When to reach out to the Ombudsperson:
- You are not sure where to go or how to get your concern or problem addressed
- Are in an appeal process and need help understanding the process
- Have a conflict or problem and need help resolving
- Believe you have been treated unfairly
- Need clarification on your rights and responsibilities as a student
For more information, please see the FAQ page.