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Ethical Principles of Ombuds


The Office of the Ombuds assists the UC Merced community with the informal resolution of any university-related complaint or conflict. In doing so, the ombuds adheres to the standards of practice as described by the International Ombuds Association (IOA). These four standards are essential to this profession and guide the ombuds' work:


  • Holds all identities and communications with those seeking assistance in confidence
  • Only exception to this confidentiality is when the Office determines that an imminent risk of physical harm exists; this determination will be made at the sole discretion of the office
  • Does not keep records
  • Is off the record and not an office of notice to the university


  • Provides opportunities for informal dispute resolution
  • Does not participate in any formal processes, including lawsuits or grievances
  • Does not makes decisions, conduct investigations or issue judgments
  • Not an office of notice to the university about the existence of a problem


  • Does not advocate for any party or for the university in a dispute
  • Works to promote fair and equitable processes


  • Reports directly to the Chancellor for administrative and budgetary purposes only
  • Has the right to discontinue providing service and disassociate from a matter at any time

These principles are absolute and non-negotiable. The standards of practice cannot be breached even at the request of those seeking assistance. In performing our function, this office operates under the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the IOA. In addition, the service provided by this ombuds office was established within the meaning of and in accordance with California Evidence Sections 1115 and 1119.