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Introduction to the Office of the Ombuds Bi-Monthly Column


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Dialogue in Conflict: CPOD Class Coming Soon

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Board of Trustees Meeting on Monday, May 15, 2017


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Karen Ambrose to Retire After 45 Years!

Introduction to the Office of the Ombuds Bi-Monthly Column

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Category: Office of the Ombuds

Published: 2017-05-15 00:00:01.000

This is Julie Weber, the Montgomery College Ombuds. Starting today, I am planning to provide bi-monthly conflict resolution and/or ombuds services information for you in <i>Inside MC</i>. It is my hope that what I write may be helpful to you and that you will reach out if you would like me to address a particular conflict resolution or ombuds matter in this column.

As a first entry, I want to reiterate that the ombuds office is a resource for exploring options to resolve a workplace conflict/issue at work confidentially. The service is for all employees at Montgomery College, including staff, faculty, administrators, and students who are employees.

Confidentiality is required by the International Ombuds Association (IOA), an organization that oversees the ombuds profession, and allows a visitor to the ombuds to truly discuss issues/parties without the fear that a particular person will find out what he/she said (and respond negatively) or even that he/she went to see the ombuds. Practically, this means that you can come and discuss any issue openly and in depth with the ombuds that involves the workplace and know that what you say in the office stays in the office. This confidentiality extends to each and every person who speaks with the ombuds, regardless of his/her job at Montgomery College.

There are two reasons for which confidentiality can be broken. The first reason is if and when you, the visitor, explicitly give me permission to use your name when reaching out to another party/person at your request. However, even in this case, you can ask me not to mention certain aspects of the issue or of our conversation with the other parties involved,(although the third person/party would certainly know that you went to see the ombuds if I am using your name).

The second reason confidentiality can be broken is if I hear about an "imminent risk of serious harm" to you, the visitor, or to another party or the College. Where safety is a top priority, in this kind of extreme situation in which people's lives may well be in danger, confidentiality may not be maintained.

Please know, that during a visitor's first time to the Office of the Ombuds, I expressly go over the confidentiality mandate as well as the two exceptions outlined above (so you do not have to commit these rules to memory). During this first visit, I also talk with the visitor about the other principles of ombuds practice, including impartiality, independence, and informality, each of which I will address in future entries.

To make an appointment with the ombuds to have a confidential conversation (unless one of the exceptions exists), or to suggest a topic for this new ombuds column, please email me at or call me at 240-687-6188.

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