The following characteristics which provide a safe environment where people feel free to raise concerns are critical to the success and effectiveness of the office:

* CONFIDENTIALITY: the Ombudsperson treats all matters and inquiries in confidence and no action is taken or names are used without the specific permission of the grievant.

* INDEPENDENCE: the Ombudsperson functions outside the management line with the prerogative of recommending corrective action(s) at any institutional level and/ or to the President.

* NEUTRALITY& IMPARTIALITY: While assessing conflicts and collecting information conducive to a prompt and satisfactory resolution, the Ombudsperson remains impartial, not advocating for either party in a dispute.

* INFORMALITY: the Ombudsperson does not conduct formal investigations nor participates in a formal arena, whether for an individual or for the institution. The International Ombudsman Association, asserts that contacting the Ombuds Office does not put the University or employer on "notice."

* AVAILABILITY: the Ombudsperson has an open-door policy and is readily accessible at the person's convenience when possible.