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The Ombuds Office is a free confidential, impartial, and independent service for all members of the McMaster community.

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The Ombuds Office provides advice and assistance in the resolution of concerns and complaints.


The Ombuds Office assists with student-related academic and non-academic issues.


The Ombuds Office promotes fairness and equity at McMaster University.

Ombuds Office in McMaster University Student Centre

With a focus on fairness, the Ombuds Office helps visitors better understand their concerns and possible ways to address them. This may include identifying how university policies apply to their situation as well as helping to generate options to resolve a conflict. With a visitor’s permission, it may also include direct intervention by the Ombuds and recommending a fair resolution.

No matter is too small. When contacting the Office, it’s okay if you’re unsure about whether you have experienced unfairness. The Office’s role is to act as a confidential sounding board and to provide guidance.

It is never too early to visit the Ombuds Office. We are here to help.

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The Ombuds Office is funded jointly by the University and the McMaster Students Union. The Ombuds reports jointly to the President of the University and the President of the MSU and acts in accordance with Terms of Reference that are approved by the Student Representative Assembly, Senate, and Board of Governors, but is otherwise independent of the academic and administrative hierarchy of both organizations.


The Ombuds Office endeavors to review information and conduct individual and systemic investigations with the highest degree of objectivity based on natural justice, fairness principles, and University vision statements and policies. The Ombuds is not an advocate for an individual nor an apologist for an organization. Rather, the Ombuds acts an advocate for a fair, just, and equitable resolution after determining the facts of a case.


The Ombuds Office will keep all identifying information confidential unless they have explicit permission to discuss your concern and deem it appropriate to do so, except in cases where there is an imminent risk of harm to you or others, a commission of a serious crime, or they are compelled by a court of law.

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The Ombuds Office provides free independent, impartial, and confidential dispute-resolution advice and assistance on student-related issues to all members of the McMaster community. The Ombuds Office also act as a source of general information and referral on matters pertaining to University policies, procedures and resources affecting students. Additionally, the Ombuds Office promotes discussion of institution-wide concerns and makes recommendations for systemic changes as appropriate.

The Ombuds acts as a source of general information and referral, assists in the resolution of individual complaints, and may conduct investigations and make systemic recommendations as appropriate.

The Ombuds is available to assist in the resolution of student-related complaints and concerns, especially those that have not been addressed through the usual channels.

The Ombuds can:

      • Explain University policies and procedures and how they affect you
      • Objectively review your situation
      • Help to develop options
      • Assist you in pursuing a resolution

The Ombuds is not a decision-maker, however, after determining the facts of a situation, they may make a recommendation to remedy the situation

Individuals can visit the Office regarding:

      • Appeals or petitions
      • Examinations
      • Academic dishonesty or research misconduct
      • Withdrawals or reinstatements
      • Course rules or management
      • Supervisor/ thesis issues
      • and more…

Individuals can visit the Office regarding:

      • On-campus employment
      • Residence life
      • Clubs and associations
      • Financial matters
      • Quality of McMaster University service
      • Behavioural and professional codes of conduct
      • and more…

We recommend visiting the Ombuds Office as early as possible. Whether you are experiencing an issue or conflict or are just unsure of where to start, the Ombuds Office can act as a confidential sounding board and provide guidance on potential next steps to address the matter.

Any member of the community can visit the Ombuds Office for information and referrals. The Ombuds can provide dispute-resolution assistance to:

      • Students
      • Applicants
      • Former Students
      • Staff and Faculty regarding student-related matter

The mandate of the Ombuds Office is twofold in nature. First, the Office provides an independent, impartial and confidential process through which members of the University may pursue the just, fair, and equitable resolution of any student-related issue. Secondly, the Office makes recommendations, where appropriate, for changes in MSU and university student-related policies and procedures and promotes discussion on student-related matters of institution-wide concerns.