Prairie Research Institute

Role of the Ombuds Office


The Prairie Research Institute ombudsperson is authorized to confidentially receive concerns or inquiries about alleged acts, omissions, improprieties, and/or broader systemic problems within the ombudsperson’s defined jurisdiction and to listen, examine the issue and any relevant policies, offer options, facilitate resolutions, informally investigate, or otherwise examine these issues independently and impartially[1]. The ombudsperson shall maintain confidentiality except in cases where reporting is legally required, shall provide informal non-binding advice, shall maintain neutrality and impartiality, and is independent. The ombudsperson will not be exempt from Title IX reporting requirements.

Activity Reporting

The ombudsperson will provide reports of activities. These metrics can include the number of matters brought to the attention of the ombudsperson, the number of resolved cases, the number of pending cases and other data.

No confidential information will be shared. The ombudsperson reports directly to the executive director.


The ombudsperson does not have direct institutional authority to change rules, overturn decisions or force issues to be addressed. Actions may be taken by the executive director on the advice of the ombudsperson if deemed appropriate.


The ombudsperson shall serve as a resource on issues pertaining to individuals at the Prairie Research Institute who are employed at the university. This includes staff, post-doctoral researchers, and graduate students, but not undergraduate students who have other resources available.

It is important that all employees feel comfortable using the services of the ombudsperson, particularly members of the staff and academic professionals.

Other Information 

  • The ombudsperson is available to meet remotely and in person at both on- and off-campus locations, including but not limited to field stations.
  • The ombudsperson will be available for remote discussions, but such remote or virtual meetings will not be recorded for confidentiality reasons.
  • The ombudsperson will be available to attend meetings either as an observer or as a neutral moderator, as requested or appropriate.
  • It is not intended for the ombudsperson to play a role in the promotion process for staff or the promotion and tenure process for academic professionals, but where an employee feels the process was unfair or otherwise biased, those concerns may be brought to the ombudsperson for advice.