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What is an Ombudsperson

om•buds•per•son (om' budz púr' sen) n. - A person appointed to investigate facts and assist in achieving fair settlement of complaints brought by a student at the University against persons at all levels within the University's Mies Campus. In essence, the Ombudsperson is a mediator, who acts with neutrality and impartiality in an effort to achieve mutually agreed to outcomes.

Who Is the Ombudsperson

Melisa Lopez, serves as the Ombudsperson for difficulties with Administrative and/or Academic affairs.  You can contact her by phone at 312.567.3642, by email, or by stopping by the Academic Resource Office, Room 115 in Hermann Hall. 

What does the Ombudsperson Do

The Ombudsperson is dedicated to assisting students experiencing problems with any administrative department of the University's Main Campus by considering problems promptly, confidentially and fairly. The Ombudsperson is also available to assist students address questions, concerns and complaints about academic affairs related issues such as student academic rights and violations of academic integrity. The Ombudsperson works to achieve a fair resolution of disputes. The Ombudsperson works to protect the rights of all parties involved and is committed to justice and fair treatment of all students at the Illinois Institute of Technology. .

What kinds of problems can the Ombudsperson help me with?

Contact the Ombudsperson if you:

  • have a problem with an Administrative or Academic Department/Office/Person at IIT and don't know how to proceed
  • find yourself entangled in bureaucratic redtape
  • need information about IIT policies or procedures
  • need someone to help resolve or mediate an IIT related dispute, or
  • feel that you have been treated unfairly
  • have an issue relating to student academic rights and the commission of Academic offenses including, but not limited to:
    • Grade disputes
    • Academic issues related to disciplinary matters
    • Perceived favoritism
    • Fear of retaliation
    • Cross-cultural misunderstandings and personality conflict

The Ombudsperson does not handle disputes involving discrimination, sexual harassment or disciplinary matters. Any Student who believes that he or she has received inequitable treatment because of a discrimination or sexual harassment violation should communicate, either in writing or in person, with the Campus Affirmative Action Officer.

Campus Affirmative Action Officer

Candi Miranda
IIT Tower
19th Floor

Why Use the Services of an Ombudsperson

The Ombudsperson seeks to mediate disputes and/or disagreements. This is a voluntary, informal process. The Ombudsperson will, without taking sides, strive to resolve problems and conflicts especially those that are not being adequately addressed through regular channels. The Ombudsperson does not have the ability to mandate a particular course of action or outcome.

Professional, graduate, and undergraduate students can contact the Ombudsperson with a variety of questions and concerns.  Students often want to be pointed in the right direction while others want to discuss complex situations.   All inquiries are held in confidence.

The Ombudsperson is

The Ombudsperson will work with all members of the University community. The office tries to help students resolve conflicts as early as possible and at the lowest possible level. The office does NOT:

  • Conduct formal investigations
  • Play any role in formal hearing, grievance, complaint, appeal, or legal proceedings.
  • Maintain formal written records.

The Office of the Ombudsperson is independent from other university departments. 

The Ombudsperson will not take sides in an issue or dispute, though the office does advocate for fairness throughout the university. She will assist in defining the problem, exploring options, or referring someone to the appropriate university personnel or office.

Services of the Ombudsperson are confidential upon request except in cases of serious threat to life or property or if we are ordered by a court or required by law to disclose information. This makes the Office of the Ombudsperson a safe place to talk about any concerns, including but not limited to misconduct, discrimination, violation of policies, or unethical behavior.

The office does not serve as an office of notice. Speaking with an ombudsperson about a problem does not constitute formal notice to Illinois Institute of Technology, and the office keeps no official records. However, consulting with an ombudsperson is a good way to learn of official policies, where to go to file a formal complaint, or how to notify university officials of a problem.  The office keeps minimal information about a situation until our involvement ends, at which point the information is immediately shredded.  No one outside our office has access to this information.

These four principles guide the work of the ombudsperson and are also described in the International Ombudsman Association Code of Ethics.