The Ombuds keeps visits as confidential as is legally possible. During a conversation, the Ombuds may jot down a few notes for the Ombuds’ personal use. If the Ombuds agrees to attend a meeting or hearing with a visitor, that person will be asked to provide a written request that indicates consent. Once the concern is addressed, all notes pertaining to the situation are shredded. The Ombuds keeps records on the number of visits, whether the visitor is a student or an employee, and the nature of concerns, but does not include any identifying information in those records.
As the Ombuds Office protects confidentiality and does not keep identifying information, the Ombuds cannot serve as an “Office of Record,” or an “Office of Notice.” The Ombuds will, however, direct individuals to the appropriate offices to file official complaints.
The only way a visitor’s confidentiality would be broken is if there is imminent threat of serious harm or if required by law. For example, the Ombuds would contact the USFSP police department if the Ombuds believed the life of the visitor or the lives of others were at risk. Another example is that the Ombuds is legally required to report known or suspected child abuse.