Skip Navigation

About the Ombudsperson

What is an Ombudsperson?

The Ombudsperson is an individual to whom students may speak regarding a problem, conflict or concern. The office is neutral and independent of the administration. It provides a private sounding board and source of assistance to help students find the right resources, navigate Emory systems, and figure out their next steps in addressing an academic or nonacademic concern.  

Where can I find the Ombudsperson?

To contact the Ombudsperson, call 404-727-0280 to request a meeting. You may also email a request to dona.yarbrough@emory.edu

Who can use the office?

The Office of the Ombudsperson is available to all students affiliated with all academic divisions of Emory University. This includes undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.

Who will know if I contact the Ombudsperson?

The Ombudsperson holds the identity and all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so, except as required by law, or where, in the judgment of the Ombudsperson, there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.

What are some concerns with which the Ombudsperson may assist?

The Ombudsperson assists Emory students with both academic and non-academic concerns. Individuals often find it helpful to explore positions, options and strategies with the Ombudsperson before making a formal report or taking more formal steps to address a concern. However, students may speak to the Ombudsperson before, during or after formal action is taken. You do not need to exhaust other resources before approaching the Ombudsperson.

What can't the Ombudsperson do?

The Ombudsperson offers assistance through informal means only, and is not an advocate in grievance procedures, judicial procedures, or any other formal process. Additionally, the Ombudsperson does not conduct investigations or overrule decisions made by another university official. As an informal resource, the Ombudsperson is not authorized to accept formal complaints for Emory University. If you want to make the university aware of a particular problem, the Ombudsperson can refer you to the appropriate office or individual, or you can access commonly used offices directly here. The Ombusperson is not a substitute for Student Counseling Services, academic advising, or other resources, but she can help you connect to and navigate those resources. 

Does the Ombudsperson ever participate in formal processes?

No, the Ombudsperson operates informally. The office does not duplicate existing processes such as grievance procedures, judicial hearings, or other formal procedures. The Ombudsperson may look into whether proper procedures were followed, and bring to the attention of those in authority gaps and inadequacies in existing procedures.