Our Role

What Do We Do?

The MIT Ombuds Office welcomes all faculty, all students and postdocs, and staff of every kind, including employees at Lincoln Lab and the Whitehead Institute. We welcome all members of the MIT community, but we ordinarily do not deal with or attempt to resolve any matter covered under a union-MIT contract or special by-laws.

The MIT Ombuds Office provides confidential, neutral, independent and informal assistance to faculty, postdocs, students and staff at MIT who have concerns arising from or affecting their work and studies at MIT. We listen to people, offer information about policies and procedures, help people examine options for resolving concerns, accept suggestions and data from individuals who seek a confidential channel for surfacing responsible concerns, and help to work for orderly and responsible systems change. MIT Ombuds are trained professionals and report to the President.

The MIT Ombuds Office is a good source of support for those in the MIT community who want to develop options for addressing a particular concern or who may wish to consider learning how to deal with problems on their own. We do not accept formal complaints or notice for MIT. If a visitor wishes to make a record, or put the Institute “on notice,” that is, to make MIT formally aware of a particular problem, we can provide information on how to do so.

To function effectively, the MIT Ombuds Office and our staff must maintain the confidentiality of communications with those who use the office. Communications with the MIT Ombuds Office are therefore considered confidential and privileged.  Accordingly, MIT Ombuds and our staff will not answer questions about people with whom we may have spoken, or disclose an individual’s name or specific issue, with anyone outside of the Ombuds Office, unless during the course of our discussions with a visitor, we are given permission to do so for the purpose of informal conflict resolution, and if the Ombuds also agrees to attempt informal resolution. The only exception to this pledge of confidentiality is where the Ombuds determines that there is an imminent risk of serious harm. The Ombuds Office does not keep permanent records of confidential communications. Permanent records kept by the Office include only statistical information for analyzing and reporting trends and recommendations to the Institute. All other records are regularly destroyed.

For a more complete description of how the Ombuds Office operates, see also the Ombuds Office Terms of Reference.