The office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can, however, call us at 617.253.5921 at any time.* You may provide information, and also tell us how to reach you, or you may choose to remain anonymous. You may make a telephone appointment or you may meet with us in person. If you would like an appointment, and we are not immediately available, leave a message and we will contact you as soon as possible. You can ask to speak with Toni Robinson or Mary Rowe or “for the first available appointment.” Ordinarily we can schedule an appointment within 48 hours.
We will listen to your concerns or suggestions and will try to brainstorm issues, options, and possible outcomes with you. You may decide that you would like just to think things over. You may decide to handle a concern on your own or you might ask us to make an informal call about the issue of concern. If we agree to make a call, we would discuss with you whether this seems like an effective option. MIT Ombuds and their staff will not answer questions about people with whom they may have spoken, or disclose an individual’s name or specific issue, with anyone outside of the Ombuds Office, unless during the course of our discussions with a visitor, we are given permission to do so for the purpose of informal conflict resolution, and if the Ombuds also agrees to attempt informal resolution. The only exception to this pledge of confidentiality is where the Ombuds determines that there is an imminent risk of serious harm.
We can serve as shuttle diplomats or mediators. We can help you bring information to the attention of appropriate individuals. We would be happy to talk with you about MIT policies, to refer you to relevant line and staff managers and to discuss formal options for resolving complaints. We keep no permanent written records of confidential communications.
MIT Ombuds do not conduct formal investigations, adjudicate, arbitrate, or serve as witnesses in any administrative or legal proceedings either at the Institute or elsewhere. As a matter of policy, MIT does not call MIT Ombuds to disclose confidential communications or to serve as witnesses. Since the Office is made available to all members of the MIT community as a purely voluntary and “alternate” channel of communication, those people who use the program also will be considered to have agreed to abide by these principles of confidentiality. Accordingly, it is inappropriate for anyone to seek to compel an Ombuds to disclose confidential communications. See also Terms of Reference.
*At Lincoln Lab you can call: Karen Challberg (x181.0858), Allison MacDonald (x181.2382), Lori McGonagle (x181.4851), or John Solman (x181.4517).