University of Hawaii Manoa

UH Mānoa Office of the Ombuds

What does an Ombuds do?

Is the Ombuds Office a place to make an official report or file an official complaint?

No. Discussions with the Ombuds Office are off the record and do not constitute formal notice of a complaint to the University. However, the staff will instruct you where and how you might make such a complaint if you wish to do so.

What's an ombuds and what does an ombuds do?

The main role of the UHM Ombuds Office is to provide confidential, impartial, informal assistance to faculty, students, and staff. We first listen very carefully and uncritically to whatever you want to tell us about what it is that's bothering you. After that a number of different things might take place. Sometimes we will give you the names of people to contact. At other times we may help you to better understand the scope of your problem. We help you think about alternatives and options. We can also be go-betweens, informal fact-finders, and mediators. Whatever we do, an important part of our job is to help you get the skills and confidence you need to deal with problems in the future. It's also our job to troubleshoot and bring problems to the attention of anyone at the University who might be able to deal with them. We do this in a way that protects the confidentiality of any visitor to our office. The ombuds has access to anyone at Mānoa, including the Chancellor.

A few of the topics you can discuss with us:

· Interpersonal difficulties
· Harassment or discrimination
· Untangling a complicated situation
· Violations of UHM policy
· Workplace disputes
· Bureaucratic runarounds
· Ethical dilemmas
· Cultural misunderstandings
· Conflicts of interest
· Disciplinary actions
· Appropriate ways to frame and discuss issues
· Incivility or rudeness
· Health and safety concerns
· Unprofessional conduct
· Ways to make or seek an apology
· Academic freedom
· Protecting your reputation
· Threats or retaliation

Ombuds offices like ours deal with an enormous variety of complaints, so if yours does not fit into the examples listed above, don't let that stop you from coming to see us.