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Student Ombudsperson

An Ombudsperson is a neutral party who can give informal and confidential assistance in resolving University related concerns, except as described below n the section titled Confidentiality. Whether that concern involves another student, a staff member, an administrator, or faculty member, the ombudsperson is available to help.

The Ombudsperson promotes fair practices, respect between parties, effective communication, cooperation, equity and civility. The Ombudsperson is independent in structure, function, and appearance as much as is possible within an institution and operates autonomously as a neutral party, remaining unaligned and impartial as outlined by the International Ombudsman Association Code of Ethics which includes the guiding principles of Independence, Neutrality, Confidentiality and Informality. The Ombudsperson serves an informal role and does not participate in any formal adjudicatory or administrative procedures on behalf of any concerns brought to their attention.

Ombudspersons are available in the Dean of Students Office to provide consultation where students can safely express their issue and concerns. The Ombudsperson will listen actively, facilitate reflective thinking, clarify facts and assumptions, and assist students in exploring options for resolving concerns and determining an action plan to achieve an acceptable outcome.


  • Listen to you (which may be all you want)
  • Answer your questions
  • Discuss your concerns and clarify the issues
  • Explain university policies and procedures
  • Provide information
  • Develop options
  • Suggest appropriate referrals
  • Assist you as you pursue resolution(s)
  • Offer coaching for difficult conversations


  • Conduct formal investigations
  • Give legal advice
  • Make decisions (or overturn decisions made by others)
  • Establish, change, or set aside rules, policies, or procedures
  • Supersede the authority of university officials
  • Disclose information to others except as described below in the section titled “Confidentiality”
  • Serve as an advocate for any individual
  • Offer psychological counseling


The Student Ombudsperson will not disclose information shared with the Student Ombudsperson except in the following situations:

  • The student has provided written consent to share the information;
  • The disclosure of the information is required by law;
  • The disclosure of the information is required under the University’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, Stalking, and Retaliation;
  • The disclosure of the information is required to protect the health or safety of the student or other persons; or
  • The student has disclosed information relating to the commission of a crime.


To schedule an appointment, please email utkstudentombuds@gmail.com.

Faculty and staff seeking assistance should click here for services.

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