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Office of the Institutional Ombudsperson

Contact Information

Institutional Ombudsperson

Deni Mitchell
E-mail: ombuds@cofc.edu

Office location

Randolph Hall, Room 207
College of Charleston
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424-0001
Phone: 843.953.5822

The Role of the Ombudsperson

As an advocate for fairness, the Ombudsperson acts as a source of information and referral, responds to questions presented by individuals and provides assistance in the resolution of concerns, problems, and informal complaints. The Ombudsperson does not have authority to take disciplinary action or reverse decisions. In addition, the Ombudsperson does not arbitrate, adjudicate, or participate in any internal or external formal proceedings. The Ombudsperson shall consider the rights of all parties involved. The Ombudsperson reports to the President of the College.

The College of Charleston’s Ombudsperson adheres to The Ombudsman Association (TOA) Standards and Practice and is a registered member of the Ethics & Compliance Officer Association (ECOA).

Responsibilities of the Institutional Ombudsperson

  • The primary duty of the Ombudsperson is to listen.
  • Ensures that all parties are aware of their rights and responsibilities regarding College policies and procedures.
  • The Ombudsperson does not participate in any internal or external formal proceedings.
  • Works to facilitate communication and assist parties in reaching mutually acceptable agreement in order to find fair and equitable resolutions to conflicts or concerns.
  • Apprises the administration of significant trends.

Examples of discussion topics

  • College policies and procedures
  • Performance evaluation (employment concerns)
  • Interpersonal conflict
  • Ethical concerns

Employees who seek the assistance of the Ombudsperson can expect strict confidentiality in matters discussed with the Ombudsperson to the extent permitted by law. The ombudsperson will not disclose that you came to the ombuds office or disclose any part of your confidential communications unless in the course of your discussions with the ombudsperson, you grant your permission to do so.

Exceptions to confidentiality exist when the Ombudsperson determines there is a threat of imminent harm or is ordered by a court or required by law to disclose information.

Confidentiality cannot be waived by users of the office because the privilege of the confidentiality belongs to the Office of the Ombudsperson, not the users of the office.