What will happen if I consult the Ombuds Office?

The Ombudsperson will listen to you describe your concern or issue.  You may be asked to clarify some points and identify the kind of outcome you seek.  The Ombudsperson may then: Determine that the Ombuds Office is not the best place for your issue, and refer you to the appropriate department or process Identify relevant university […]

Who can use the Ombuds Office?

The Office of the Ombudsperson for Students has been established to ensure that students are treated fairly and can learn, work and live in a fair, equitable and respectful environment. Any student who is currently enrolled at UBC Vancouver in a credit or non-credit course can seek the Office’s assistance.  Prospective students, as well as former […]

When should I go to the Ombuds Office?

If you are a student, you can contact the Office if you: Are not sure where to go or how to get your concern or problem addressed Believe that you have been treated unfairly Have a conflict or problem and need help in pursuing a resolution Are in an appeal proceeding and need help understanding […]

What does the Ombuds Office do?

The Ombuds Office is an impartial and confidential resource for students to obtain assistance when they feel they have been treated unfairly in the university setting.  The Office can: Provide general resource information and make appropriate referrals Identify and explain relevant university processes and policies Work with students to plan strategies and explore options on how […]

Are there things the Ombuds Office cannot help me with?

The Ombuds Office cannot: Be anyone’s advocate; the Ombudsperson must remain impartial as an advocate for fairness. Act as a student’s agent or replace existing resources or channels for resolution. Intervene where a formal process (e.g. appeal, grievance, legal proceeding) has been commenced or overturn or influence decisions resulting from such processes. Provide counselling or […]

What does confidentiality mean?

The information you provide and the discussions you have with the Ombuds Office are confidential, meaning that they will not be revealed to any person outside the Office unless you expressly give your permission.  This guarantee of confidentiality is necessary to ensure a safe and secure environment for students to explore options, ask questions and […]

What does independence and impartiality mean?

The Ombuds Office operates independently of all other administrative structures within the university.  The Office is jointly funded by the AMS, GSS and the university and the Ombudsperson reports directly to the President.  Please see the UBC Office of the Ombudsperson for Students Terms of Reference 2011. The Office provides its services in an objective […]

What if I have a suggestion, comment or complaint about the Ombuds Office?

The Ombuds Office welcomes and appreciates feedback on our services – please email us your comments. The Ombuds Advisory Committee is responsible for receiving and responding to any comments or complaints you may have about the Ombuds Office.  You can email your suggestions, complaint or comments to the Chair of the Ombuds Advisory Committee.  The Chair will review your submission, […]

Where can I get help if I have a problem understanding how to proceed with my appeal to a Senate Committee?

The Ombuds Office can explain relevant procedures and rules relating to your appeal but it cannot help you construct your case.  You should consult an advocate (e.g., AMS, GSS) who can give you advice on matters like what you should include in your case and whether someone can/should accompany you to the appeal.  If you […]

Where can I get help if I have a problem with my AMS club?

Contact the AMS Ombuds Office, whose mandate specifically includes the provision of conflict management services to AMS clubs.  They will be able to provide you with some advice and options on how to address the issue and if desired, can facilitate a meeting to achieve a resolution of the problem.  You should also check out […]

Where can I get help if I have a problem with a professor who is mistreating me because of my accent?

You should contact the UBC Equity Office and ask to speak with an Equity Advisor who will listen to your concerns and can assist you in dealing with the professor.  The Equity Office works to prevent harassment and discrimination based on the 13 prohibited grounds in the B.C. Human Rights Act and has procedures for […]

Where can I get help if I’m experiencing a lot of stress in both my academic and personal life?

UBC has a great support network for students who find themselves in difficulty.  You can go to Counselling Services to speak with a counsellor for help with dealing with concerns like anxiety and stress; AMS Speakeasy provides peer counselling and a friendly ear.  Student Health Service provides full primary health care out of a clinic […]

Where can I get help if I have a problem arranging accommodation for a recently diagnosed medical condition?

The Access & Diversity Office works to determine and facilitate disability-related accommodations for students, faculty and staff with disabilities and produces alternate format materials for people with print disabilities.  Contact their office and ask to speak with one of their Access & Diversity Advisors.

Where can I get help if I’ve been accused of academic or non-academic misconduct?

You should first consult the UBC Calendar (Policies and Regulations) and familiarize yourself with the procedures and rules that may apply to your situation.  In particular, you will want to know about the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Discipline (PACSD).  If you need help in understanding the process, please feel free to contact the Ombuds Office.  […]

Where can I get help if I have been given an unfair grade?

Check out the UBC Calendar – Review of Assigned Standing for the procedures involved to appeal your grade. Be mindful of any timelines that apply and that you do not miss any deadlines to submit the necessary documentation to file an appeal.  Your first step, as in any situation where you have a problem relating to […]

Where can I get help if I have a problem with my graduate supervisor?

Both the GSS and the Faculty of Graduate Studies have information on how student-supervisor issues can be effectively addressed.  As with any situation where challenges arise in the interaction between people, it is best to go to the person directly and have an open and honest discussion.  The Ombuds Office can help you prepare for […]

How do I even know where to start dealing with my problem?

When trying to figure out how best to deal with your problem, a good place to start is to enter some keywords into the search functions on the UBC website and the academic calendar. The Ombuds website also has a collection of Support Links, plus, you can download our Fairness Toolkits for tips on problem-solving, discussing difficult issues and communicating effectively.

Does the Ombuds Office give legal advice?

No. The Ombuds Office does not provide legal advice, counselling services nor can it be an advocate for an individual student. It can however refer you to the appropriate agency for such services.

Can the UBC President overturn a Senate appeal decision?

No. The Senate appeal process is the final and highest decision-making process at UBC. No one (not even the President) has the power to overturn a Senate decision.

Can’t the Ombuds Office just “fix” my problems?

The Ombuds Office’s role is to help students work through their fairness-related concerns, not to act in their place.  We work to empower students so that they can develop useful skills that will serve them now and in the future.

Is the UBC Ombuds Office the same as the AMS Ombuds Office?

No. The AMS Ombuds Office is a completely separate service offered by the Alma Mater Society (the student union). It assists students and AMS staff by providing conflict resolution services for AMS matters.

What is “fairness”?

“Fairness” is difficult to define and we often rely on parallel concepts and principles like equity and justice, impartiality, even-handedness and reasonableness to illustrate what we think fairness means. This could be because fairness is a shape-shifter, its content very much shaped by the context and circumstances in which it arises. Fairness is also subjectively […]

I’m an international student – how do I know what’s “fair” in Canada?

You can find out about “fairness” in our Info Sheet “What is Fairness?”. You can also contact International Student Development to learn more about living, studying and working in Canada.

What is an “Ombudsperson”?

An ombudsperson is a person who serves as an impartial intermediary between an organization and its constititents.  Mandates can vary widely but are typically concerned with fairness.  For more information about the UBC Ombuds Office, please read Who We Are and the Office’s Terms of Reference 2011.