The Role of the MPSA Meeting Ombuds

As an informal resource, the Ombuds plays no role in MPSA’s formal complaint procedure but can offer independent, confidential and impartial guidance for a range of concerns, including but not limited to perceived discrimination or harassment. . The Ombuds will listen to your concerns without judgment and  explain the options or approaches you have available to address them.  Options can range from informally addressing the issues, reporting the incident  to the MPSA or, given the nature of the complaint, pursuing a complaint with an outside entity such as  state or local government, human rights or law enforcement agencies, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the U.S. Office for Civil Rights. The Ombuds cannot provide legal advice but can offer support and guidance even if no further action is taken.

Consultation with the Ombuds is confidential. The details of any a conversation between an MPSA event participant and the MPSA Ombuds is kept confidential to the extent allowable by law, and will not be reported to any administrator, officer, or committee of the MPSA.  The only exceptions to confidentiality are when the Ombuds believes there is an imminent risk of serious harm.  In those circumstances, the Ombuds will disclose information to an appropriate entity in order to protect the individuals from harm. The Ombuds is entirely independent of any other MPSA structure, resource or complaint process. The Ombuds will not keep any written records of complaints or consultations. The Ombuds can be reached at MPSAOmbuds2021@gmail.com or by asking for assistance from conference personnel. In the event that the Ombuds is involved in or has a relationship with any party to the dispute, the Ombuds will be recused after contacting another Ombuds to address the issue.

Contacting the Ombuds

The Ombuds is available for appointments by phone or video call and can be reached at MPSAOmbuds2021@gmail.com for scheduling.

Meet the MPSA Meeting Ombuds

Tyler Smith serves as the MPSA Ombuds.  He has also been the University Ombuds at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), in Chicago, since July 2019.  Prior to NEIU, Tyler worked for nearly five years as an Associate Ombuds at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.  Before entering the ombuds profession, Tyler spent several years working as a mediator, facilitator and trainer at The Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution, in Salisbury, Maryland. Tyler is an active member of the International Ombudsman Association and holds a M.A. in Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution from Salisbury University.

International Ombudsman Association Code of Ethics

The MSPA Ombuds adheres to the International Ombudsman Associations Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice which are as follows.

Preamble

The International Ombudsman Association (IOA) is dedicated to excellence in the practice of Ombuds work. The IOA Code of Ethics provides a common set of professional ethical principles to which members adhere in their organizational Ombuds practice.

Based on the traditions and values of Ombuds practice, the Code of Ethics reflects a commitment to promote ethical conduct in the performance of the Ombuds role and to maintain the integrity of the Ombuds profession.

The Ombuds shall be truthful and act with integrity, shall foster respect for all members of the organizations they serve, and shall promote procedural fairness in the content and administration of those organizations’ practices, processes, and policies.

Ethical Principles

Independence – The Ombuds is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible within the organization.

Neutrality and Impartiality – The Ombuds, as a designated neutral resource, remains unaligned and impartial. The Ombuds does not engage in any situation which could create a conflict of interest.

Confidentiality – The Ombuds holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so. The only exception to this privilege of confidentiality is where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.

Informality – The Ombuds, as an informal resource, does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to his/her attention.

For more information on the International Ombudsman Association Code of Ethics, please visit: http://www.ombudsassociation.org/

More information from IOA