Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Office of the Ombudsman. | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
The University Ombudsman Office at Southern Illinois University Carbondale was an independent, impartial, neutral, and informal resource available to anyone wishing to explore a university-related question or concern in a confidential environment. The office was established as a fact-finding and complaint office, and assisted those who had difficulties arising out of inconsistent, harsh, impolite, or rigid administration of a particular rule or policy. The office goals were to solve individual problems and to recognize patterns of complaint and recommend appropriate changes. It was created to primarily assist students but also assisted faculty and staff as well.
Southern Illinois University Carbondale was one of the first higher education institutions in the United States to establish an ombudsman office. The office was created on September 15, 1969 and Mary Walker was appointed to serve as the first ombudsman and reported to the Chancellor’s office. When SIU President David Derge reorganized the administration in 1972, the office became the responsibility of the Vice President for Development and Services. This was the case until the fall of 1973, when Dean of Student Life assumed responsibility of the ombudsman office. In the fall of 1973, the Ombuds Advisory Panel declared the office of Ombudsman would be called Ombudsperson. Effective July 1, 1975, the Ombudsman's office came under the jurisdiction of the Vice President of Student Affairs. In 1979, the name of the office changed back to Ombudsman.
Ingrid Gadway Clarke was appointed University Ombudsman in July 1974 and held the position until her retirement in 2000. She was followed by Lynn Connley until 2010 and then Don Bixler in 2011. The University Ombudsman Office ceased to operate around September 2012.