The University Ombudsperson has the official role of protecting the interests and rights of all members of the Cleveland State University community by being an impartial, trustworthy person to oversee conflict-resolution procedures and assure due process for all parties involved in a conflict. The ombudsperson strives to achieve informal resolutions of disputes; provides informal, confidential mediation; advises complainants of their rights; identifies the correct bodies to which petitions and requests should be addressed; helps complainants prepare supporting paperwork in clear and concise form; and offers an avenue through which persons with grievances can express their concerns and develop a constructive perspective on their situation.
A major goal of the ombudsperson is to serve as a reliable, comprehensive source of information about university rules and procedures at all levels in order to assure that all members of the institution have full knowledge of, and access to, all appropriate conflict-resolution processes. Achieving informal resolutions depends substantially on aiding disputants to appreciate the various factors that affect their situation and to understand the options available to them.
The ombudsperson maintains strict confidentiality regarding all interactions related to the role. The parties involved in a dispute are assured that all disclosures to the ombudsperson are confidential and that they retain control over information shared with the ombudsperson as well as actions taken by the ombudsperson on their behalf. Neither party is obligated to accept either in full or in part the recommendations of the ombudsperson; the parties always retain the right to pursue other options.
The ombudsperson's purpose is to protect the rights of the individuals on both sides of the conflict and help them acquire the full benefit of due process; it is not the purpose of the office to initiate actions to achieve institutional ends. The ombudsperson strives to maintain an atmosphere of fairness and due process for all parties and to promote an environment conducive to learning, reasoned discourse, and mutually acceptable conflict resolution.
Dr. Rama Gorla, professor of Mechanical Engineering, is presently serving as the ombudsperson.
Dr. Gorla's office is located in Stillwell Hall, Room SH 243, in the Mechanical Engineering Department.