While the Center’s Ombuds Committee has been in the works for some time, it is now ready to begin operations. The committee consists of eleven individuals, with two each from the student body (both PSP and candidates), the Institute Council, the Program Management Committee, the Diversities Committee, and three Board members. The committee elects its own Chair and Deputy Chair, which initially will be David Cooper and Raquel Adams (formerly Carrera) respectively. The intent of forming this committee, and the procedures which govern it, is to encourage open discussions and resolutions of conflicts in the Center, with a balance between privacy and transparency. In the past this balance tilted too far in the direction of privacy, which may have led to perceptions of a veil of secrecy, fueled simmering conflicts, and led to a lack of resolution or of knowledge about what resolution has been reached.
To discuss and resolve Center conflicts, any Center member can access the Ombuds Committee via contacting one of our committee’s members; alternatively, any member can choose to contact one of the newly designated Deans (Anne Adelman for the Institute and Terri Judge for other Center programs). For information on the Deans please read the website document on Deans of the Institute and the Board and Programs (HERE). Once we have been approached with a concern/complaint, the Ombuds Committee will work first to see if informal resolution is possible. If such an approach is not successful, we have procedures in place to bring together a subcommittee of five Ombuds Committee members, aiming for one representative from each of the designated stakeholder groups, to look into the complaint and to reach a conclusion as to how to achieve resolution that addresses complainants’ concerns.
We are committed to a timely process that will not extend beyond 30 days. Decisions of our group, representing various constituencies, will be final. The current committee consists of Sarah Diehl; Ira Dosovitz; Sarah Hedlund; Joy Kassett; Kerry Malawista; Erica McClaskey; Teresa Mendez; Arthur Stein; Fernando Tripodi; Raquel Adams, Deputy Chair; and David Cooper, Chair. Our procedures are posted on the Center’s website (HERE). Please be aware that these procedures have been slightly revised, and revised procedures will be posted as soon as we can get legal review/approval.
The process of conceptualizing the committee and formulating its procedures was spearheaded by the Board, and specifically by Fernando Tripodi, Board member and co-chair of the Diversities Committee, and we would not be in the position of launching it without his tireless efforts, along with the efforts and strong support of the Board. The design is intended to facilitate a climate of collaboration and improved education when it comes to missteps in the pursuit of the mission of the Center. Our hope is that this committee of the Board will contribute to the goal of becoming a more open Center, welcoming and respectful of multiple points of view.
David Cooper, Chair
Raquel Adams, Deputy Chair