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Ombuds Office

Tom Patrick

Tom Patrick

University Ombudsman

(304) 293-6338 
The primary mission of the West Virginia University Ombuds Office is to provide confidential and impartial assistance that enables WVU community members to manage conflict early, informally, and at the lowest levels possible without the need to pursue more formal grievance processes or litigation. In addition, the Ombuds Office may alert University officials about systemic problems or general trends that merit further review or consideration for the welfare of the University management. Rather, the Ombuds is an advocate for respectful dialogue, fair practices, and mutual understanding.

The Ombuds Office is a place where members of the West Virginia University community can seek guidance regarding the resolution of conflict or concerns through a resource which is
  • independent – it is not a part of the University administration;
  • informal – it is not an agent of the University for purposes of putting the University on notice of a complaint or issue;
  • neutral – it does not take sides in any matter; and
  • confidential – it keeps the strictest confidences of all who visit.

The services of the Ombuds Office do not replace other processes at the University; rather, the Ombuds works to facilitate communication and assist constituents in reaching mutually acceptable, fair, and equitable resolutions that are consistent with the ideals and objectives of the University.

The Ombuds Office also reports general trends and provides feedback throughout the University.  It advocates for systemic change when appropriate without disclosing confidential communications. The Ombuds Office confidentially receives complaints, concerns, or inquiries about alleged acts, omissions, improprieties, and/or broader systemic concerns. In response, the Ombuds Office will listen, make informal inquiries or otherwise review matters received, offer options, make referrals, and facilitate resolutions independently and impartially. In addition, the Ombuds Office shall serve as an information and communication resource, consultant, conflict resolution expert, and catalyst for professionalism.

The WVU Ombuds seeks to promote healthy culture of conflict resolution in the WVU community, helping individuals find resolution through informal discussions and collaborative problem-solving. The WVU Ombuds Office achieves these goals through the use of conflict coaching, mediation, and training, as well as referrals to other University resources. The WVU Ombuds Office offers a safe environment for individuals to share their perspectives, discuss their goals, and brainstorm mutually-agreeable outcomes.