Who is the Student Ombudsperson?
What is the Student Ombudsperson?
The ombudsperson's role and responsibilities are to meet with students and listen to their problems; to give advice, perhaps suggesting someone else to talk to or suggesting the next step to take; and to keep conversations confidential.
An ombudsperson is supposed to be friendly, approachable, mature, a good listener, in his/her third year or higher (i.e., should "know the ropes" so to speak), and reasonable (of course!).
An ombudsperson is different from student DRC members since the DRC is an official committee (like a senate) and student members represent students (like senators). Their responsibility (like the faculty members to the rest of the faculty) is to maintain a "two-way street" relationship with the students: They speak up for all the students and they communicate back to all students what discussions the DRC has and what decisions it makes. So, if you have a personal problem (e.g., with your advisor), it may not be appropriate to talk to your student DRC representative (unless as just a friend).
Most students already have such "buddies" so it isn't expected that there be a long stream of people knocking at the ombudsperson's door, but rather that once in a blue moon a problem might arise and a student who has no one else (not even Deb) to turn to can try the student ombudsperson.