What We Do

Consultation

When an individual contacts the Ombuds Office, we schedule an initial telephone consultation to discuss the issues. During this consultation, the visitor will be able to:

  • Talk about the problem in confidence with an impartial person
  • Inquire about and get information regarding applicable policies, procedures, rules, regulations, and other resources
  • Discuss goals and alternatives and plan a strategy for dealing with the problem, trying mediation and other alternatives
  • Get referrals to other University offices that may provide additional help (student life, SHARE, human resources, health services, employee assistance, religious life, and more)
  • Recommend changes in existing University policies, procedures and practices
  • Request other services such as mediation, coaching, training and consulting

A discussion with the Ombuds Office is confidential, meaning that the Ombuds Officer and staff will not discuss it with others or take any action without the permission of the person seeking the services.

Mediation

The Ombuds Office also provides neutral services such as mediation when parties agree to participate. Mediation is a voluntary, confidential, and informal process that people in conflict use to address a common problem with the help of an impartial mediator who does not decide, but helps the parties reach their own solution.

How does mediation work?

Step 1

Contact the Ombuds Office to discuss the situation and to determine if mediation is the most appropriate and desirable approach to the situation.

If you would like to discuss your concerns and explore the idea of mediation, please e-mail the Ombuds Office (ombuds@princeton.edu) to make an appointment.

Step 2

Participation in mediation is voluntary and the Ombuds Office always respects an individual's decision not to participate in the process. 

Step 3

The Ombuds Office staff will schedule the mediation. In all cases, the mediator will want to meet individually with the parties before the mediation.

The Mediation

During the mediation the parties have the opportunity to explain the problem from their perspective. The mediator assists the parties in framing and clarifying the issues in dispute, exploring options, and developing an agreement. The mediator does not impose the solution. The solution is generated by the parties and is one that both parties are willing to accept and abide by. In mediation, it is understood that the agreement is binding on the individuals who comply with it.

Group Training

Conflict can be a difficult challenge. It is hard to recognize that it is also an opportunity to learn. Princeton University's Ombuds Office offers high-quality training services in conflict management for University members. Groups are kept small (less than 20) to help trainees acquire the skills taught during the trainings.

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