OFFICE OF THE OMBUDS

Goals
Educate and Inform Faculty

Educate and provide information and resources to faculty regarding their working conditions rights and responsibilities, particularly regarding the grievance process and procedures

Facilitate and Assist in Resolutions

Facilitate and assist in resolving complaints, problems, conflicts, concerns, and/or grievances impacting working conditions of faculty

Model Work Environment

Model fairness, equity, administrative efficiency, and a healthy work environment

Make Recommendations

Make recommendations to the Faculty Assembly Council regarding policy to improve working conditions of faculty as well as to limit and resolve conflict

Goals
Educate and Inform Faculty

Educate and provide information and resources to faculty regarding their working conditions rights and responsibilities, particularly regarding the grievance process and procedures

Facilitate and Assist in Resolutions

Facilitate and assist in resolving complaints, problems, conflicts, concerns, and/or grievances impacting working conditions of faculty

Model Work Environment

Model fairness, equity, administrative efficiency, and a healthy work environment

Make Recommendations

Make recommendations to the Faculty Assembly Council regarding policy to improve working conditions of faculty as well as to limit and resolve conflict

Provide Representation

Provide representation to faculty who become the subject of an Investigation, explaining rights, preparing for interview, garnering legal advice as necessary, and actively ensuring rights throughout the process to resolution. Also may serve as Weingarten representative when faculty are called into a meeting with supervisor/administration which may result in disciplinary action.

FAQs
What is an ombudsperson?

At MiraCosta College, the ombudsperson is an executive member of the Faculty Assembly.  Article III.B.5 of the Faculty Assembly Bylaws indicates that the Ombudsperson shall:

 

  • Work through appropriate channels to resolve grievances impacting the working conditions of one or more members of the Faculty Assembly.

  • Update the FA Council on working conditions grievances and to advise the FA Council on such matters should they emerge in formal negotiations. Such updates shall occur in closed session when necessary to protect the privacy rights of individual faculty members or other district employees.

  • Address individual faculty complaints, including grievances related to working conditions. 

  • Remain current on all district policies, laws, and regulations related to grievances and faculty rights.

  • Work with district personnel and other campus constituencies to formulate policies and offer training designed to limit and resolve conflicts.

  • With regards to disputes between members of the FA, the Ombudsperson will advise members and mediate as necessary without taking sides.

  • With regards to disputes between faculty members and the district or others outside the membership of the FA, maintains an interest in resolving the issue to the advantage of faculty interests.

  • Calm, reasoned sincerity should govern the ombudsperson’s efforts in all cases. The ability to listen carefully without interruption or the imposition of personal bias are essential qualities.

  • Other duties as determined by the Council and established in FA Rules

Who may use the services of the Faculty Assembly Office of the Ombuds?

Full-time faculty members.​

I have an issue, but I don't know exactly what to do or where to go?

You should contact the Ombudsperson for a confidential meeting to discuss your issue and get some guidance and options for addressing it.

For what reason might a person contact the FA Office of the Ombuds?

Full-time faculty who need facilitation in resolving complaints, problems, concerns, and/or grievances impacting working conditions. Full-time faculty who are notified that they are under an Investigation for a Title IX or Title V complaint or violation of a District policy or procedure should immediately contact the Ombudsperson.

How do I go about filing a grievance?

Prior to filing a Grievance, faculty should review the Grievance Procedure in the District/FA Contract, Section L.5.0 starting on page 82 to become familiar with the process. You should request an initial consultation with the Ombudsperson, and you can find out more information about this process by reviewing the section below entitled “Submit an Issue for Review.” 

Is the information I share confidential?

Information provided will be shared with the FA President in keeping him/her appraised of issues. The FA’s legal counsel and/or the FA Exec may be consulted through the grievance and/or investigative process as warranted. The Office of the Ombuds strives to maintain confidentiality throughout the REVIEW and at all levels of the Grievance and/or Investigative processes.  

What are the qualifications of the Ombudsperson and committee members?

The Ombudsperson is an elected position among the members of the FA. Full-time faculty who are objective, knowledgeable of colleges policies, procedures, and the Collective Bargaining Agreement (contract) are ideal candidates. The Ombudsperson must also be a trained mediator and/or undergo training within six months of his/her election.  Other qualifications include calm, reasoned consideration of issues, effective communication, and the willingness to maintain confidentiality.

Does the Faculty Assembly have legal counsel?

Yes.  David Conway, Law Offices of Robert J. Bezemek

Mary Gross, Ombudsperson

* Joined Faculty in 2005

* Department of Credit ESL & American College English (ACE)

* Office: 4608 / Extension: 6586

* Other Service and Roles Held: Department Chair, Trained Mediator, Faculty Assembly Council, Academic Affairs Committee, Basic Skills Initiative Coordinator, Academic Senate Negotiating Team, Accreditation Faculty Tri-Chair, Professional Development Program/FLEX Committee, EOPS/CARE  Advisory Committee, Lodestar.

Dara Perales

* Joined Faculty in 2006

* Department of Letters, Transfer

* Office 3617 Extension: 6428

* Other Service and Roles Held: Trained Mediator, Faculty Assembly Council, SDICCCA Mentor (2015-16), Co-Advisor for MCC’s GSA, Co-Facilitator of MCC’s Safe Space Program, Trained SGID Facilitator

Mark Whitney

* Joined Faculty in 1999

* Department of Child Development

* Office: OC8003 Extension: 6662

* Other Service and Roles Held: Trained Mediator, Faculty Assembly Council, Professional Growth & Evaluation Committee, Sustainability Committee, Academic Senate Vice President, Academic Senate Council, Student Learning Outcomes Coordinator, Governance Organization Committee, College Steering Council, Professional Standards Committee, Academic Master Plan Committee.

Jeanine Sepulveda

​* Joined faculty in 2004

* Department of Biological Sciences

* Office: 4609; jsepulveda@miracosta.edu

* Other roles held: Served on Professional Growth and Evaluation, Professional Development Program, and Academic Affairs Committees. Faculty Assembly Council member. SDICCCA Mentor, and served as Biology department chair.

Faculty Resources
Faculty Contract, Constitution, and Bylaws

Please visit the FA Documents page for updated copies of the MiraCosta College faculty contract, FA Constitution, and Bylaws.

Additional Resources
Request for Representation

If you have been notified that you are the subject of a Title IX or Title V Complaint and/or would like representation at a meeting in which you believe discipline might result, please contact the Ombudsperson immediately for a confidential consultation. The Ombudsperson will ensure you are aware of  your rights and can assist you in preparing for any interview and/or meetings where representation is requested.

Submit an Issue for Review
Procedure for Initiating, Screening, and Processing Full Time Faculty Concerns/Complaints

The Ombuds Advisory Committee (OmAC, aka Office of the Ombuds), with the support of the FA Council, has developed these procedures to ensure fairness and a clear processes for managing FA members' issues. Please review so you have an understanding of how your issue will be managed.

Faculty member (initiator) has an issue, concern, conflict, problem, or potential grievance related to his/her Working Conditions:

  1. Office of the Ombuds is contacted either directly from a faculty member or referred from another campus constituent. Faculty member should contact the Ombudsperson for an informal consultation regarding issue prior to completing a Concern Review Request form (link is below). The information and discussion will remain CONFIDENTIAL to the extent permitted by law.

    1. Issue is Identified as:

      1. i.     Working conditions: compensation

      2. ii.     Working conditions: contractual

      3. iii.     Working conditions: personnel

        1. a. Faculty to faculty

        2. b. Faculty to administrator

      4. iv.     Working conditions: other

  2. As appropriate, Faculty member is directed to the Office of the Ombuds Website to complete a Concern Review Request form. The information will remain CONFIDENTIAL to the extent permitted by law as it is reviewed by the Ombuds Advisory Committee

  3. Faculty member to provide evidence/rationale of claim (i.e. provide information which details how issue is an alleged violation of WC and/or rights as an employee.) Faculty members should provide specific support of policy or procedural violation by including reference to WC Agreement, BP, AP, traditionally accepted past practice, etc.

  4. Faculty member to articulate desired options for resolution

  5. Once received, the Ombudsperson reviews, consults with the FA President and with the OmAC if needed. As appropriate, the Ombudsperson may:

    1. Request more information and/or in-person interview with faculty member

    2. Assess options that are in the best interest of the initiator and the Faculty Assembly

    3. Identify other district personnel or campus constituents and/or external resources that may need to be consulted

    4. Route issue to appropriate area for resolution (e.g. Academic Senate President, FA President, Human Resources)

      1. If this course of action is taken, Ombudsperson will stay informed of process and act as resource as needed

    5. Provides options/resources to resolve through established FA processes; Ombudsperson or designated OmAC member works with faculty member, conducts research, interviews, etc. and keeps record of all documentation. Resolution may come in the form of:

      1. In-House Mediation

      2. Filing of Grievance

      3. FA to District MOU/Side Letter

      4. Sunshine for future Contract Negotiation

      5. Other

  6. Ombudsperson & FA President

    1. Ombudsperson communicates and consults with FA President on Ombuds matters

    2. FA President offers feedback, consulting with FA Exec Council as he/she deems appropriate

    3. Ombudsperson and/or OmAC member communicates with Faculty member and documents progress throughout the process to resolve issues and provides updates to FA President

    4. Ombudsperson reports resolution to FA President and  makes recommendations for improvement to policy/procedure to avoid future issues

 

Review Request Forms

Both an electronic and print version is available to full-time faculty who find it necessary to file a concern for review.  If using the online form, the faculty member needs to enter his/her MiraCosta login credentials.  

Concern Review Request Form (Online): This form is password protected.  Please contact Mary Gross (Ombudsperson) for the password.  

Concern Review Request Form (Word Document):  Please submit this form to Mary Gross (Ombudsperson).

***Additional forms for the formal Grievance process (steps 2-4) can be located on the Documents page of this FA website.

Stay Informed

​Remain current on all District agreements, policies, BPs, APs, laws, and regulations related to faculty rights and working conditions

Consult Outside Resources

​Consult with, collaborate, and/or make referrals to other campus or external resources/constituents for conflict resolution.

Members