Values and Principles

The values that the Ombuds Office holds and promotes are the same values that Princeton University espouses: integrity, respect for others, diversity, and freedom from bias and harassment (see Rights, Rules and Responsibility).

The Ombuds Office is also committed to the professional principles of confidentiality, impartiality, independence, and informality as prescribed by the International Ombudsman Association Standards of Practice

A person seeking help from this office must give permission before contact with anyone else may occur. For example, if a student is having difficulty with a professor, the student must give permission to the Ombuds Office staff before the professor is contacted. If a staff member is having difficulty with a coworker or with a supervisor, the coworker or supervisor is contacted only with the permission of the person seeking the assistance of the Ombuds Office. The only exception to confidentiality is when, at the sole discretion of the ombuds officer, there is a grave risk of serious harm.

Speaking to the Ombuds Office about a concern does not constitute legal "notice" to the institution that the problem exists. Anyone wishing to put the institution on notice may contact a supervisor or administrator, or invoke formal grievance procedures. The Ombuds Office can provide referral information about who to contact for anyone seeking to use administrative or formal grievance options.

The Ombuds Office is not a representative of the university or an advocate for its visitors. It does serve as an advocate for fair policies, procedures and treatment.


"Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude."

~ W. James