When you visit the ombudsperson's office, he or she will explain the role of the office to you and that the office keeps all information confidential. The office helps you find options to resolve your issues. Ombuds services are informal (the ombudsperson does not participate in formal investigations) and independent of normal routes of communication. Ombuds services are also impartial or neutral. The ombudsperson does not take sides and strives for fairness.
You will have an opportunity to consult with the ombudsperson and to describe in your own words the situation as you see it. The ombudsperson will provide a safe forum to voice your concerns, evaluate your situation, help you organize your thoughts and assess your options and decide on what is most important and relevant for your specific circumstance.
Some options the ombudsperson may discuss with you include simply talking about your problem, facilitating communication between you and others, informal fact-finding or beginning informal processes available at VCU. The ombudsperson may discuss pursuing a formal grievance proceeding, but will not participate in it. If appropriate, the ombudsperson may refer you to another office. At the ombudsperson's discretion and only with your permission, he or she may contact that office on your behalf.
You will select the options that you prefer. Some issues can be addressed quickly and can be resolved within a very short period of time - days or a couple of weeks. Other issues may take much longer (up to several months) and require many steps to reach a long-term equitable solution for all parties.
The ombudsperson may discuss both informal as well as more formal options that are available to you.