What is an Ombudsman

The University Ombudsman can be the first resource when a student does not know where to get information for a particular situation; or as a last resort, when normal channels of communication have failed to bring resolution to a difficulty.The Ombudsman can help students with the following:

  • Listen to your concerns
  • Clarify university policies and procedures
  • Answer questions concerning appropriate channels
  • Assist with problems that have not been resolved by other offices
  • Informally research the basis of your complaint
  • Provide referrals to individuals and/or department to appropriately address your concern
  • Explore and evaluate possible options available to resolve concerns
  • Recommend changes to university policy, rules, or procedures that are outdated, unclear, or ineffective
  • Open avenues of communication or facilitate conversations

General FAQs

  • What is the role of the Ombudsman?

    The ombudsman assists FIU students to explore options to resolve issues or concerns in an informal and confidential setting. According to the Florida Board of Governors:

    The ombudsman shall not advocate for any individual, but shall advocate for fair and equitably administered processes and shall facilitate discussion to identify best options to resolve problems. A student's use of the ombudsman is voluntary and shall not be a required step in any grievance process.

  • Who can use the services of the Ombuds Office?

    All student members of the FIU community.

  • When should I contact the Ombudsman?
    • If you are not sure where to go for help with your problem or concern.
    • When you feel stuck "in the system" and have no idea what to do.
    • If you need clarification about university policies and procedures.
    • If you need help exploring what options you have available.
    • When you need a referral to the appropriate channels to address your concerns.
  • Can I file my official complaint with the Ombudsman?

    No, the Ombudsman is not an official point of notice for the university. However, the Ombudsman can listen to your complaint and refer you to the proper point of contact to officially file your complaint.

  • When is it not appropriate to involve the Ombudsman?
    • If your concerns are not related to FIU.
    • If you are seeking for someone to advocate for you in a dispute, student conduct proceeding, or academic/administrative hearing.
    • If you are seeking legal advice or representation.
    • If you have sought legal representation to settle dispute.
  • What does the term "Ombudsman" or "Ombuds" mean?
    According to the International Ombudsman Association:
    The word "Ombudsman" is Scandinavian and means "representative" or "proxy."  The term is gender-neutral in origin and is used by the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) to communicate to the widest possible community. Variations of the term exist (i.e. ombuds, ombudsperson) and are common among those practicing in the ombudsman field.

Academic FAQs

Administrative FAQs


Sofia Trelles
Student Ombudsperson
Graham Center 219


The Ombudsperson does not provide services electronically and will request a face-to-face or telephone meeting to best understand your circumstances. Scheduling an appointment by telephone is suggested.

*Medical students enrolled in the the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine should contact the HWCOM Ombuds Office.

Faculty Ombudsperson
Dr. Rebecca Friedman
Office of the Provost - PC 520A