Lic. Cynthia MA Brenes.

Coordination Office of Student Affairs

The word "Ombudsperson" comes from the Swedish word "Ombudsman," meaning "listening to the people." It is a common office in many governments, and has similar functions to a human rights commissioner. Ombudsperson offices exist in many European and American universities, with the role of an agent that promotes justice and respect for human rights and access related information, through guidance to students on problem solving and the opening of channels of communication among students, faculty and administration.

At Zamorano, the Ombusperson's Office was founded in 2006, and reports directly to the President's Office. It is focused on serving the student community by ensuring an independent channel for impartial and confidential communication for the discussion of matters related to academic or student life, and freely and without fear of reprisals or adverse consequences.

The Ombusperson facilitates communication in cases of conflicts between students, faculty and university staff. He/she is appointed by the President. In general terms, the Ombudsperson investigates complaints of unfair treatment or incorrect procedures. Its duties may include conducting hearings, advising and making recommendations. It also helps facilitate or mediate in negotiations on a solution to a conflict.

Providing timely information often is the easiest way to solve a problem. The Ombudsperson also advises students on possible ways of resolving problems and conflicts that arise during their time at Zamorano, and from an impartial point of view based on current institutional policies. Additionally, the Ombudsperson has the responsibility to inform the administration on academic or non-academic issues that may be affecting relationships with students at the university.