The University Ombuds Offers all members of the campus community a central, safe, and easy place to gain support and problem-solving resources.
All members of the campus community can contact the University Ombuds about any issue
related to the University as an informal resource. Visitors may talk to the ombuds
in confidence about any work-related concern. Campus leaders may also consult with
the ombuds in confidence on managing workplace conflict. The Ombuds listen and explores
possible courses of action with you. You decide how to move forward — if at all. Our
services are free and voluntary as well as confidential and off the record. If another
office is better suited to address or resolve the concern, we will advise you of those
The Ombuds looks forward to working with you and would be happy to schedule a time to meet. Please be aware that information you include in emails to our office are not confidential.
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What is an Ombuds?Toggle More Info
The name ombudsman, ombudsperson or ombuds (om budz man) comes from Swedish and literally means “representative.” At the most fundamental level, an ombudsman is one who helps individuals and groups in the resolution of conflicts or concerns (The International Ombudsman Association). There are different types of ombuds. At FGCU there is an organizational ombuds, defined as: “a designated neutral who is appointed or employed by an organization to facilitate the informal resolution of concerns of employees, managers, students and, sometimes, external clients of the organization.”
What does an Ombuds do?Toggle More Info
The services provided by the Ombuds are tailored to the visitors's situation. The Ombuds works with individual visitors to listen to your concern and work with you to understand your interests and goals to address the concern. The Ombuds will explain policies and procedures, help define options, and work with you and others to create strategies to resolve concerns. If another office is better suited to address or resolve the concern, we will advise you of those options. You may schedule an appointment with the ombuds by phone (239-590-1022). If you schedule the appointment over email, please do not include any confidential information.
Some examples of what the Ombuds can do:
- Provide a safe place to share thoughts and discuss concerns
- Listen to concerns
- Act as a confidential sounding board
- Assist in exploring options and researching resources (provide referrals to other resources)
- Clarify relevant policies and procedures
- Offer coaching (i.e. help a visitor prepare for a difficult conversation)
- Advocate for fair process
- Discuss rights and responsibilities
- Facilitate communication
- Provide anonymous trend data and institutional feedback to leadership
- Operate under the Standards of Practice & Code of Ethics of the International Ombudsman Association
What we DO NOT do
- Advocate for specific individuals and outcomes
- Compel participation
- Conduct formal investigations or render formal findings of fact
- Participate in the University's grievance process or any other formal process
- Make or change administrative decisions or University policy
- Give legal advice or serve as a substitute for anyone's lawyer
representative or counselor
- Make judgments about a person or a situation
- Provide psychological counseling
- Accept or provide notice of an alleged violation on behalf of the University
- Establish, change or override policies or administrative decisions
- Provide formal mediation of legal interests
Professional Standards: We operate according to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice established by the International Ombudsman Association (IOA). Please visit the IOA website to learn more about the IOA's Code of Ethics & Standards of Practice.
Feedback to leadership
Most of an ombuds work is confidential meetings. At times, the ombuds may become aware of possible workplace trends or issues that university leadership should know about. When this happens, the ombuds provides anonymous, non-identifying, aggregated feedback to the appropriate managers. Please note that although providing institutional feedback is an important function of the ombuds role, it does not outweigh confidentiality.
Guiding PrinciplesToggle More Info
The Ombuds office is guided by four principles from the International Ombuds Association Code of Ethics:
The Ombuds is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible within the organization. The Ombuds reports directly to the President. The Ombuds offers feedback to the President and others on systemic problems.
The Ombuds, is designed neutral, remains unaligned, and impartial. The Ombuds does not engage in situation which could create a conflict of interest. The Ombuds Office operates as an alternate channel to provide the confidential, safe discussion and facilitation of communication. The Ombuds Office does not work or advocate on behalf of employees, students, FGCU administration or any third party. The Ombuds Office works to ensure members of the FGCU community are treated respectfully and be impartial, fair, and objective.
The Ombuds holds all communication with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communication unless given permission to do so. The only exception to the privilege is where there appears to be imminent risk of harm, by law, and FGCU policy. The Ombuds will not keep permanent records of specific, confidential communications. At the same time the Ombuds Office acts in compliance with applicable public records requirements. The Ombuds Office may report trends using aggregated data to protect the confidentiality of employees and its operations. The Ombuds Office or shall not disclose to any person, including employees or external parties, the names or identifying information of those who interface with the Ombuds Office. The services provided by the Ombuds Office are entirely voluntary. Visitors may contact the Ombuds Office anonymously. Use of anonymity may, however, present certain limitations on the Ombuds Office's ability to be of assistance.
The Ombuds, is an informal resource and does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to the offices attention. The Ombuds Office is not authorized to receive "notice" of claims against FGCU. The Ombuds Office can and will refer those wishing to place FGCU on notice. Formal complaints are handled by other offices such as The Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance, The Title IX Office, Office of General Counsel and Human Resources. The Ombuds Office does not formally investigate issues, create policy, compel action, make management decisions, and does not adjudicate or arbitrate claims.
Why should you visit?Toggle More Info
Faculty, staff and students can benefit from the Ombuds Office in many ways, including assistance in dealing with conflicts with colleagues or supervisors, communication problems and questions about what options are available for handling a workplace problem. Other reasons for visiting the Ombuds include:
- When you believe you have been treated unfairly.
- When you do not know which Regulation, Policy or procedure might apply in your situation.
- When you have been unsuccessful in resolving a problem.
- When you need help navigating workplace concerns.
- When you need help facilitating communication.
- When you are unsure of where to go or what options exist to solve a problem at FGCU.
- When you believe a Regulation, Policy or procedure has been unfairly or wrongly applied.
Communications with the Ombuds are confidential to the extent permissible by law and FGCU policy. Discussions with the Ombuds are considered off-the-record. The Ombuds is not authorized to accept notice of claims against FGCU. Anyone wishing to give the University notice of claims against it must contact one of the University's formal channels authorized to receive such notice.
The Ombuds can discuss how you may access one of these formal channels but does not participate in any formal proceeding, including serving as a witness or producing documents with respect to confidential communications.
Meet the OmbudsToggle More Info
Dr. Daniel Hoover, Ed.D, University Ombuds
Before accepting the role as University Ombuds, Daniel directed Student Care Services at FGCU and chaired the Behavioral Assessment and Consultation (BCAT) a multidisciplinary committee that functions to address students of concern and behavioral intervention.
Daniel has served as Case Manager at FGCU, Director Of Student Conduct & Greek Affairs at Marist College, and a Conduct Coordinator at FGCU. Prior to those positions, Daniel held positions in Housing & Residence Life at the College of William & Mary, Elmhurst College, and the University of Kansas.
Daniel earned his doctorate from the College of William & Mary in educational policy, planning, and leadership (research interest involving Division III student-athletes). He earned a Master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Kansas, and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Coe College. Daniel has been a member of the Higher Education Case Managers Association (HECMA), National Association for Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment (NABITA), and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). In the new role as University Ombuds he has joined the International Ombuds Association.
FAQ's & Campus ResourcesToggle More Info
Who can us the services of the Ombuds Office?
All members of our University community (students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents).
What is the University Ombuds?
The University Ombuds provides a safe and confidential place for you to seek information, discuss concerns and conflicts, explore options, and identify possible resources. Our goal is to help you develop strategies for dealing with challenging situations and find answers to questions about available programs and resources.
Additionally, the services provided by the Ombuds are designed to complement rather than replace other services such as formal processes. We are an informal and confidential resource here to help identify available options.
What does the term "confidential" mean?
All conversations with the Ombuds are confidential, unless authorized by the complainant, University policy, or otherwise required by applicable law, including without limitation, Chapter 119, Florida Statutes. The Ombuds does not keep records containing identifying information on behalf of the organization. The Ombuds will not testify in any formal judicial or administrative hearing about concerns brought to their attention. If there appears to be imminent threat of serious harm, confidentiality will be broken.
What resources could be explored prior to contacting the Ombuds?
It would be suggested to speak with the other individual(s) to attempt to resolve the issue. If you are unable to resolve the issue directly it is suggested to advance to the next level above (department chair, director, dean, vice president). A good idea to consult any handbooks that may be beneficial based on your status as a student, faculty, or staff member. The Ombuds is an entirely voluntary service and you are never required to contact the ombudsperson before seeking the assistance of other programs.
What procedures or approaches does the ombudsperson use to provide help?
To assist a visitor, the ombuds employs a wide variety of informal approaches, including but not limited to:
- Informal consulting
- Facilitated dialogue
- Informal mediation
- Shuttle diplomacy
- Suggesting referrals to existing services
Is the ombudsperson a "mandatory reporter" for Title IX or prohibited discrimination?
Yes. A report of discrimination, crimes, or allegations of violations of law (e.g., in cases of child abuse, neglect, or a Title IX violation) will be reported. If you want to put something on the record or obligate the University to respond in some way, you may pursue alternative avenues. We can work with you to figure out what those alternative avenues might be, given the situation. Additionally, imminent risk of serious harm to the visitor or to others will be disclosed where expressly required.
Does the ombudsperson maintain records?
The ombuds do not maintain records of individual visits or any information about the individual visitor that can identify the person or the particular issue or concern. We may keep short-term working notes as necessary to keep track of commitments and follow-up activities. The ombudsperson does keep limited non-identifiable information so we can track general trends and work with University governance and administration to identify opportunities for systemic improvements.
FAQ's - International Ombuds Association (IOA)
Other Useful Links and Information:
- Academic Catalog
- Bright Futures Appeal
- Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)
- CAPS crisis line: 239-745-EARS (3277) - May be used outside normal business hours (evening, weekends, and holidays).
- Togetherall: Online peer-to-peer platform, which offers a safe space for students to connect with others experiencing similar feelings. Its free for students and they can use it at their convenience.
- If you feel like you may be in danger of hurting yourself or others, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.
- Need immediate help for a Mental Health Emergency?
- Dial 988 or Text 988 – Suicide & Crisis Hotline- provides 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress.
- SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24/7, information service for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
- Employee Assistance Program (Employees/Dependents)
- Ethics & Compliance
- Faculty Resources (Handbooks, Resources, Collective Bargaining, etc.)
- Fee Adjustment
- Grade Appeal
- Housing Appeals: Contact Housing & Residence Life: 239-590-1700
- Institutional Equity & Compliance (Title IX, Discrimination & Harassment, etc.)
- Parking Citation Appeals
- Satisfactory Academic Process Appeal (SAP)
- Student Conduct (Code of Conduct, Academic Integrity, etc.)
- Student Care Services (Student of Concern)
- Student Concerns and Complaints
- Victim Advocate
Contact UsToggle More InfoIndividual Meeting: If you are having an experience where you are not sure what to do next reach out to us for help and support. We offer coaching and guidance that aim to empower you to think through the best way to navigate the situation and develop strategies to move forward.
In an individual meeting, an Ombuds will work with you to:
- Better understand the situation and the options possible
- Offer a neutral and impartial perspective
- Develop strategies to address concerns in a way that feels most comfortable to you
- Share communication and conflict management tools and techniques
- Identify campus policies, offices, and resources that might be helpful to you
How to Schedule a Meeting: In the interest of confidentiality, it is best not to share details about your reason for wanting to meet through email. It may helpful if you call ahead to make an appointment. If you prefer to communicate anonymously, please contact the office at 239-590-1022. You may schedule online here.