The Ombudsperson at University Canada West conducts thorough, confidential, impartial and independent investigations of complaints, seeks fair resolutions and makes recommendations to improve administrative practices for students. The Ombudsperson works to ensure that students are treated fairly in all aspects of university life by responding to student complaints and addressing concerns related to possible breaches of rules of natural justice.

The Ombudsperson is independent of University administration and supervisory structures, and conducts investigations through the impartial, prudent and effective review and analysis of the facts as they pertain to administrative processes and the application of the rules of natural justice.

In their role, the Ombudsperson informs students regarding the avenues available to them to address and resolve their complaints; mediates or intervenes to assist in the resolution of conflicts; and provides advice and recommendations to decision-makers on the fair resolution of complaints. The Ombudsperson is also available to provide information to apprise students of their rights and responsibilities and interprets University regulations, policies and procedures.

Topics the Ombudsperson is available to help with include:

  • Student and supervisor/instructor/professor relationships
  • Abuse of power, bullying or unfair treatment
  • Guidance about which rules, policies or procedures are applicable to specific issues or concerns
  • Concerns raised that a particular rule or policy has been applied unfairly
  • Communication between complainants and a University faculty member, administrator or student
  • University processes and policies

When should you contact the Ombudsperson?

  • When you are not sure where to go or how to get a concern or problem addressed
  • When you are involved in an appeal process and need help understanding the process
  • When you have a conflict or problem that needs help resolving
  • When you believe you have been treated unfairly
  • When you need clarification on your rights and responsibilities as a student
  • When you appreciate the support of an individual during meetings regarding your academic status with University faculty or administrators

To contact the Ombudsperson, please email [email protected]. If you are reaching out with a specific question regarding notifications from members of the University about the application of policies that impact your status or standing as a student at UCW, please provide these documents in your email.

Please note, the Ombudsperson does not:

  • Act as an advocate; the Ombudsperson must remain impartial
  • Replace existing resources or channels for resolution
  • Intervene when a formal process (appeal, grievance, legal proceeding) has been commenced or overturn/influence decisions
  • Provide counselling or legal advice
  • Decide who is right or wrong
  • Change decisions, policies or regulations; the Ombudsperson can only make recommendations
  • Receive complaints, intervene or assist in matters unrelated to the University

UCW’s Ombudsperson

University Canada West has appointed Duane Seibel as the Ombudsperson.

Duane has spent the last 30 years working in British Columbia’s public post-secondary education system as a faculty member, department chair, human rights advisor and director of student affairs.

Since 2020, Duane has worked as a full-time consultant to numerous universities and colleges, including UCW.

As Ombudsperson, Duane will support the implementation of revised policies regarding student conduct, academic integrity and appeals processes.

Duane can be reached at [email protected].