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
Code of Ethics and 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 reports directly to the Provost of the University. On an annual basis the Ombuds Office compiles aggregate data to present to the Provost, tracking trends in issues among the Princeton University Community. While protecting personal identities, the Ombuds Office may make recommendations for changes to University policies and procedures.
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.
Another important aspect of the confidentiality of the Ombuds Office is its location. In order to maintain privacy, the office is located on the second floor of 179 Nassau Street (campus map), away from the center of campus. Meetings can also be scheduled in other locations if necessary.