Ombudsman offers advice

To all new students at NIU, please accept a warm welcome from the staff in the Office of the Ombudsman.

This is an exciting time as you begin your life here, and we hope you will enjoy the diverse cultural and educational experiences available on campus – your new home. Becoming acclimated to a large university environment may seem overwhelming at first, but there are many helpful campus resources available to serve and assist you. The Office of the Ombudsman offers information and advice to help you determine how to address any particular concern you might have.

If you have never heard of an ombudsman before, you may be wondering what kinds of services are provided by an ombudsman. The NIU Office of the Ombudsman provides confidential and informal assistance to any member of the university community who feels an issue is not being adequately addressed on campus. We provide services to students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, family members and others. We can also refer you to campus services designed to assist students in specific situations.

If you find yourself feeling uncertain about what to do or where to turn for information that may be valuable to your situation, you can contact the ombudsman for assistance. Students typically contact the ombudsman to discuss issues such as academic policies, grade appeals, housing, parking, disciplinary matters or roommate concerns.

You may be uncertain about which university policy, procedure or regulation applies to your situation. You may feel that you have been treated unfairly or that a university policy or regulation has been applied inappropriately. Staff members in our office are familiar with a wide variety of university policies and procedures.

After listening to and assessing your situation, we will explain policies and procedures pertinent to your situation, help you identify appropriate formal and informal options for resolving your situation and develop strategies that have proved effective in achieving resolution in similar situations. We can also direct you to specific individuals on campus who are authorized to make policy exceptions in extenuating circumstances.

The Office of the Ombudsman serves as an alternative source of information and offers advice that may be helpful for understanding the university’s formal grievance procedures and other avenues of resolution.

The office is independent of the university’s formal administrative structure in order to maintain an impartial and objective point of view. As a neutral party, the ombudsman cannot advocate for individuals, take sides in an issue or impose solutions. Should you desire an advocate, we may be able to provide you with a referral to others who are able to act in that capacity.

We hope you enjoy the remainder of the summer. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about NIU.

Our office is located in the Holmes Student Center, Room 601 and is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday until the end of the summer school session (Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the rest of the year). Please call 815-753-1414 to speak to someone or to make an appointment, or visit our Web site at for additional information about our office and links to many university policies and procedures.

Best wishes for a wonderful college experience at NIU!