How does the Ombuds Office maintain the confidentiality of people who use its services?

We do not reveal the name of anyone who contacts the Ombuds Office unless you give us explicit permission to do so. We do not retain any records or notes once your interaction with the office is complete. We also discourage the use of email because we cannot guarantee the confidentiality of any digital communication.

Can I consult with an ombudsperson via email?

We strongly advise against it, other than for scheduling an initial appointment. Email and other electronic communication is never strictly confidential. It creates an electronic record and may compromise the confidentiality of our interactions with you.

Who can access Ombuds Office services?

The Ombuds Office is a resource for all members of the MIT community, including students, faculty, employees, and alumni. Lincoln Lab employees are welcome to contact the main campus Ombuds Office or either of the Lincoln Lab ombudpersons, who are bound by the same standards of confidentiality and impartiality.

Are there any situations in which the Ombuds Office can’t guarantee confidentiality?

The only exceptions to our pledge of confidentiality are situations that present a risk of serious and immediate harm to yourself or others.

Are there any situations that the Ombuds Office won’t help with?

People are welcome to call the Ombuds Office with any concern related to their life and work at MIT. If an issue is outside of our terms of reference, we may offer a referral to other resources to address your concern.

What does “ombudsperson” mean?

Ombudsperson (AHM-budz), and sometimes ombudsman or just ombuds, is an 18th-century Swedish term that means independent representative and/or agent of change. The role originally referred to people who investigated citizen complaints against government officials. Since the mid 20th century, the concept of an organizational ombuds has emerged as a confidential and impartial resource for people associated with an organization.