• Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is an Ombudsperson (Ombuds?)

    The institution of the ombudsperson has a long and honorable tradition as place to appeal against official incompetence, abuse, bias, and other unfairness. The ombudsperson is a designated neutral, not an advocate for an individual or an organization but an advocate for fairness, who can refer individuals for assistance, answer questions about policies and procedures, and assist in the resolution of individual problems and disputes, especially when individual's need help negotiating with staff and/or understanding policies. The role of the ombuds is to find a resolution appropriate to the needs and rights of all parties. At The New School, the ombuds office provides a supportive and confidential environment where students can seek guidance in dealing with a wide range of issues that may be impeding their success at the university.

    Why is the Ombuds office needed?

    The New School is a complex place. Students must work with layers of organization and conform to a multitude of policies and rules. Mistakes and misunderstandings can lead to avoidable conflicts that can interfere with the education of students and the educational mission of the university.

    Who can consult the ombuds office?

    All New School students are welcome to bring concerns and complaints about policy decisions and personal interactions to the attention of the ombuds.

    How does it work?

    You can take any problem that involves an office or person at The New School to the ombuds. Someone will listen to your problem, concern, or complaint and help you consider your options. The ombuds can answer questions about university policies, make inquiries about official decisions, and refer you to other sources of help and information.

    Will my visit be confidential?

    The ombuds is independent and impartial, and the process is informal. You are not required to go "on record." The Ombuds office is firmly committed to maintaining confidentiality in every case. No official records of client names, affiliations, or grievances are kept. The discussions, issues, concerns, or problems you present will remain in strict confidence. If you wish for a problem or complaint to go "on the record," you will bereferred to the appropriate office or person.

    What kinds of issues do students bring to the ombuds?

    • Policy disputes or misunderstandings
    • Academic disputes or misunderstandings, including perceived instructor bias and grading policies
    • Interpersonal conflicts
    • Harassment/discrimination
    • Housing complaints
    • Roommate conflicts

    What doesn't the ombuds do?

    The Office of Student Ombuds services cannot override any formal policies or procedures that exist at The New School. The ombudsperson does not

    • Provide legal advice
    • Provide psychological counseling
    • Render judgments or make decisions on the issues brought to the OIS/HEOP community members/students or participate in any formal hearings, process or procedure.