Tips and Tricks

Office of the Ombudsperson

October 09, 2013

When graduate students find themselves in need of support and advice due to misunderstandings or conflicts, it can be hard to figure out where to go. One very useful place is SFU's Office of the Ombudsperson.

SFU holds the proud distinction of being the first post-secondary institution in North America to have an Ombudsperson for students. While it has undergone many changes for close to 50 years the Office has been available to all students with questions or concerns related to their university experience.

The University is a large and complex institution; misunderstandings and conflicts can easily occur. The Ombudsperson provides confidential, impartial and informal assistance to help graduate students resolve conflict, explore options, make referrals for additional support or resources, and promote fair and equitable treatment within the University. The Ombudsperson can also help to affect positive change by providing upward feedback on patterns of problems and complaints to appropriate senior administrators.

The word “Ombudsman” originated in Sweden during the 19th Century, when the term applied to a public official appointed to investigate citizens’ complaints against governmental agencies. The SFU Ombudsperson is best described as “the person who has an ear to the people.” The purpose of the office is to insure that graduate students are heard and receive impartial attention and assistance with their concerns.

See their annual reports for the last 4 years for examples of their work.

Students are advised to schedule appointments in advance. To make an appointment call 778 782-4563 or email Jay Solman:

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