Office of the Academic Ombud -- A neutral, independent and confidential resource for UK students and faculty

109 Bradley Hall • • 859-257-3737 • University Senate Rules

student with backpack

Questions and Answers For Students

  • Works with all those engaged in the teaching and learning activities of the university, including students in all undergraduate, graduate, and professional school programs, TA's, and RA's, as well as full-time and part-time faculty.
  • Provides a safe, neutral, and confidential setting in which to ask questions, discuss problems and seek assistance with academic-related conflicts and disputes.
  • Explains university policy and procedures and how they apply in particular situations.
  • Investigates student grievances and complaints.
  • Works to resolve problems for which no clear procedure exists.
  • Seeks alternative means to achieve equitable solutions.
  • Advocates for fair processes & their equitable application.
  • Recommends changes in policies and procedures to better ensure fairness in the teaching and learning enterprise.

Issues related to Student Academic Rights and problems concerning the commission of Academic Offenses, including but not limited to:

  • Grade disputes
  • Admission problems due to technical difficulties
  • Registration problems
  • Academic issues related to disciplinary matters
  • Perceived favoritism
  • Fear of retaliation
  • Charges of and sanctions resulting from plagiarism or other academic offenses
  • Disability accommodation issues
  • Cross-cultural misunderstandings & personality conflicts

University of Kentucky's Academic Ombud is always a respected member of the academic community who holds tenure in the faculty. The Ombud is appointed by and reports directly to the University Provost. Thus, the Academic Ombud Office functions independently of all colleges and instructional programs throughout the university and works effectively across traditional lines of authority and responsibility to facilitate resolution of the most complex problems.

  • If you suspect, but are not certain, that a problem exists.
  • If you know a problem exists, but don't know how to address it.
  • If your efforts to solve the problem have been unsuccessful.

The Ombud Office can:

  • Open new lines of communication.
  • Conduct a thorough investigation.
  • Recommend cases to the UK Appeals Board.
  • Discuss the merits of a case with appropriate officials.
  • Encourage and facilitate use of different perspectives.

The Ombud Office cannot:

  • Change a grade or waive a requirement.
  • Change policies or rules.
  • Release a financial obligation.
  • Testify at hearings.

University Senate Rule provides that “the Ombud shall not violate the rights of students or other parties involved in cases brought to the Ombud through the disclosure of any information communicated in confidence.” The Ombud and the Assistant to the Ombud take very seriously this responsibility to ensure that personal and official information provided by and about faculty, staff, and students is not communicated to third parties without the consent of the individuals concerned. For example, the Ombud’s Office will not disclose to an instructor the student’s name unless the student consents to that disclosure.

The Ombud’s responsibility to protect confidential information is, however, subject to disclosure requirements imposed by law. In rare cases, for example, the Ombud’s Office may be required to provide information pursuant to a court order. Also, Title IX requires that, if the Ombud’s Office receives a complaint related to an alleged violation involving Sexual Harassment and Discrimination or Sexual Assault, Stalking and Relationship Violence, this Office must refer the complaint to the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity (IEEO) for investigation. If an individual wishes to make a confidential report that is not required to be referred to the IEEO, the individual may contact the University’s Violence Intervention and Prevention Center (VIP Center), University Counseling Center, or University Health Services (students).

The Academic Ombud Office is dedicated to confidentiality. You need not talk to the Ombud necessarily when calling our office. The Assistant to the Ombud is prepared to handle such cases discreetly and if she cannot help you with your concern, she will assign the case to a "Special Ombud" (often a past Ombud). The present Ombud will not be informed of such inquiries or of the assignment of a Special Ombud, except at your request. When requesting a Special Ombud, you need not give your name necessarily.

Office hours are 8:00 am - 4:30 pm Monday - Friday. Walk-in visits, telephone, and email inquiries are welcome. Often speaking with the well-qualified and helpful Ombud Office staff can resolve a problem, and an appointment with the Ombud is not necessary.