Ombudsman

What is a Student Ombudsman?

The Student Ombudsman helps students address and resolve non-academic conflicts, concerns, and other problems they may experience while attending Francis Marion. The Ombudsman assists the student in navigating the university procedures that will help them resolve their issue, and directing them to the appropriate school office or official.

The Ombudsman acts as a neutral and impartial resource for the student and advocates for fair processes. The Ombudsman does not replace other school offices or officials who bear responsibility for particular issues.

What is the role of the Student Ombudsman?

The Student Ombudsman can help a student in several ways consistent with the mission of Francis Marion University, while acting as an impartial and neutral sounding board for students. They provide a confidential, informal, neutral, fair and impartial place for students their concerns.

Ombudsman can assist with:

  • Addressing problems and concerns, identifying and evaluating options to reach resolutions.
  • Connect student with available resources within the University that might be of assistance.
  • Provide information about university policies and procedures they can utilize to address their issue.
  • Serving as a neutral party in conflict resolution.
  • Facilitating communication between the student and the appropriate school official who can help address their problem.
  • Recommending changes in University policies and procedures when appropriate.
  • Act as a confidential sounding board for the student, while assisting them in evaluating different options for resolving their issue.

How can I contact the Ombudsman?

Questions or concerns can be directed to the Student Ombudsman by appointment, email or by telephone. A phone call is the best way to ensure confidentiality.

Confidential meetings can be arranged at your convenience. The Ombudsman will not identify you or discuss your personal concerns with anyone, within the course of your conversations, unless you and the Ombudsman both deem it appropriate to do so.

The only exception to confidentiality is if the Ombudsman determines that there is risk of imminent harm. Matters discussed with an ombudsman are considered confidential, “off the record,” and do not constitute formal notice. The Ombudsman Office is made available to visitors with the express understanding that it provides them with a confidential, independent, neutral and alternate channel of communication.

Photo of Katherine Barnett

Katherine Barnette

Student Ombudsman

Office: SAB 114
Phone: 843-661-1434
ombudsman@fmarion.edu