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University Ombud

At URI, the Ombud is a confidential, objective, last resort for problems with University procedures and processes.

The ombud idea and the name came from Scandinavia in the 18th century. The original ombud was an officer of the parliament who investigated complaints from citizens who felt they had been unfairly treated. If the complaint was justified, he sought a remedy.

The size, impersonality and complexity of modern universities made this type of representative of the individual increasingly desirable on college campuses, and in recent years many universities have adopted the idea of the ombud.

URI has had an Office of the Ombud since 1972 and from the beginning it was apparent that it filled a very real need.

The primary function of the Ombud is to provide a system for handling individual problems and complaints about University processes. The Ombud has no authority to reverse or alter decisions by other university officials, for instance to change grades, or reinstate a student.

The Ombud helps the student or other members of the University community solve his or her problem by:

• Giving needed advice and direction.

• Investigating in confidence conflicting situations.

• Clarifying matters by interviewing all parties concerned and by researching the problem.

• Mediating and suggesting compromises in conflicting situations.

• Ensuring that the student receives due process.

• Recommending to the University administration procedures to prevent the recurrence of academic and administrative problems.

Effective February 20, 2014, the University has two new Ombuds ("co-Buds"):

Gerry Tyler, Professor Emerita, Political Science

Al Killilea, Professor Emeritus, Political Science


An office space for the Ombuds is being renovated in Roosevelt Hall.  It is planned to be completed in April (2014).  In the meantime, please contact the Senate Office at 874-2616 or 874-5176 for contact information for the Ombuds.

All Conversations and Meetings are Confidential

University Manual on the Ombud
University Manual on Academic Regulations

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