In each IntegrityStar edition, we highlight some frequently asked questions. In this twelfth edition, we offer the following questions and answers regarding building on an ethical culture and the role of the Ombuds Office.
The FAQs provide general guidelines for all employees. For more specific guidance, please contact the appropriate office, or University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk at 407-823-6263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions and Answers
All employees were recently required to take an online UCF Code of Conduct / Speak Up! Training and most of the people I know try to do the right thing all the time. What are our executives doing to support this effort?
In addition to completing the same mandatory online training, all executives and directors were required to attend an in-person Ethical Leadership training led by our new vice president for compliance and risk. Additionally, the topic of ethics and training is discussed weekly during the President’s Cabinet meetings. This will be a continuing effort that will be reflected in everything we do.
In this challenging economy, can we afford to make this kind of commitment to ethics? It seems like everyone is spending time that could be spent on other things.
Ethics is a critical part of our success. It’s the foundation of successful relationships. It is important for us to avoid legal and regulatory problems, but in the long run, it’s even more important for us to maintain a reputation of a university that is honest and transparent.
Who can use the services of the Ombuds Office?
All members of the university community (students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents).
Why was the Ombuds Office established?
The Ombuds Office at the University of Central Florida was established in 1994 to enhance the quality of service offered to all members of the university community. The office does not replace formal avenues or processes, but offers assistance in an informal, independent, impartial, and confidential manner.
What does the term “confidential” mean?
All conversations with the Ombuds Office staff are confidential, unless authorized by the complainant or otherwise required by applicable law, including without limitation, Chapter 119, Florida Statutes.
The Ombuds Officer keeps no records containing identifying information on behalf of the organization.
The Ombuds Officer will not testify in any formal judicial or administrative hearing about concerns brought to their attention. If there appears to be imminent threat of serious harm, confidentiality will be broken.
What resources would you explore before contacting the Ombuds Office?
Speak directly with the party involved and try to resolve the issue. If you are unable to resolve the issue directly with the party involved, advance to the next level of appeal (department chair, dean, director, vice president, etc.). Depending on your status (student, staff, faculty), consult the appropriate handbook (Golden Rule; Undergraduate or Graduate Catalog; or the Faculty or A&P and USPS Handbook).
When is it not appropriate to involve the Ombuds Office?
If you want legal advice or representation. The Ombuds Officer can advise you of your rights within the university but will not provide legal advice or represent you in a legal matter.
If you have a non-university related disagreement or problem. The Ombuds Office will not address disputes between members of the campus community and private individuals, companies, or organizations not affiliated with UCF. Student Legal Services can be used by students to address this type of problem.
If you want someone to advocate for you in a dispute. The Ombuds Officer is a neutral facilitator, has no stake in the outcome, and is not an advocate for either side.
The Ombuds Officer will not testify in any formal judicial or administrative hearing about concerns brought to their attention.