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Volume 1, Number 2 March/April 2000

UCOA Endorses Proposed Standards for the Establishment and Operation Of Ombudsman Offices

The University and College Ombuds Association (UCOA) Board met on March 23 (via teleconference) and endorsed the ABA Ombudsman Steering Committee March 6, 2000 draft of the proposed Standards for the Establishment and Operation Of Ombudsman Offices and the Report to the Sections of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice and Dispute Resolution.

UCOA's endorsement will now be sent on to the ABA Steering Committee, with one relatively minor request for modification. The sentence in question is found in the first paragraph of the PREAMBLE. The proposed wording change is from "Ombudsmen protect individual rights against the excesses of public and private bureaucracies" to "Ombudsmen protect individual rights within entities and from the excesses of public and private bureaucracies." UCOA's endorsement however, is not predicated on acceptance of this modification, and will stand if this recommendation is not accepted.
The Standards and Report represent a three year plus effort on the part of a dedicated group of organizational and classical ombudsmen and ABA representatives. UCOA's representatives on the ABA Steering Committee were Mary Rowe, Ellen Waxman and Ella Wheaton. The resulting draft is seen by many as a milestone in the evolution of the ombuds profession in the United States and provides a clear and comprehensive definition of the word ombudsman and accepted baseline standards of practice. This effort is particularly timely and important for UCOA because it informs and supports ongoing efforts by UCOA membership to develop Standards of Practice for university and college ombuds, drafts of which will be discussed at the Association's June meeting in San Francisco.
The ABA documents, as well as a host of other information on ombudsing, may accessed via the ABA Ombudsman website.
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