NIU ombudsman busy with clients

By Rob Heselbarth

NIU’s ombudsman has been faced with more problems and conflicts this year, and hopes to keep it that way.

“We have had 20 percent more clients than last year,” said NIU Ombudsman Tim Griffin.

“The increased traffic is good, depending on who you ask,” he said. “Some people might say there’s more problems, but I think it’s good to see students and faculty relating more.”

Griffin said he has been trying to promote more interaction at NIU.

“I have been attempting to do a wider variety of programs to better the relationship between NIU, students and faculty,” he said. “The Office of the Ombudsman is a resource for any member of the university community.”

Griffin said that grade appeals have been the most popular problem so far this semester, but that it is normal for the early part of the semester.

“Complaints about instructors, parking and financial aid are always big ones,” he added.

“We’ve had roommate problems we’ve had to deal with. We can mediate between the roommates or set up a ‘roommate contract’ between them,” Griffin said.

He said student and instructor problems are somewhat common, also. Most of the time the student prefers to remain anonymous, he said.

“We can wait until the student has completed the class and then talk to the instructor. Or, we can assist the student in analyzing the situation and suggest helpful ideas on how to address the problem themselves,” he said.

Some of the problems that have been brought to Griffin’s attention have resulted in action taken on at NIU, Griffin said.

“A member of the GLU wanted to address the problems of the gay, lesbian and bisexual students on campus,” Griffin said. “That conflict resulted in a president’s task force on discrimination of gays and lesbians at NIU.”

Griffin said he has been trying to attend as many events on campus as possible. He wants to spread himself out.

“I’ve been trying to get a sense of what’s going on campus,” he said. “I want people to know I’m out there and ready to assist them with any problems they might have.

“I want to bring any problems to the attention of the proper people to get the situation solved as quickly as possible,” he said.

The Office of the Ombudsman is located in the Holmes Student Center, Room 709. Griffin can be reached at 753-1414.