Student Senate discusses ombuds office

Student Senate discusses ombuds office

Claire Fodell

Student Senate discussed its newest resolution Thursday to promote the creation of an ombuds office on campus that would direct Grand Valley State University’s community to resources on campus.

“It’s a navigator for the services we already have,” said Andrew Plague, vice president of the Political Affairs Committee.

It is estimated that more than 200 colleges and universities in the U.S. already have ombuds offices or ombuds persons on their campuses.

Plague said most of the services on campus, such as the Counseling Center, LGBT Resource Center, Women’s Center and Office of Multicultural Affairs, are underused because students often don’t know where to go when they have an issue that these centers could address. The ombuds office would direct students to the most appropriate center for their specific issue.

The implementation of the office is being studied by the Ombuds Task Force Committee, which was created by the Executive Committee of the University Academic Senate.

The office would also serve as a place where students, faculty and staff members who have felt discrimination or need a dispute resolved can go to voice their opinions and get advice from a neutral source, and it would be able to help with issues between faculty and students.

“It will help them figure out what their path may be from someone who has no stake in it,” Plague said. “In all cases, the ombuds is seeking fairness and truth in the issue, not trying to help the student ‘win.’”

In his discussion of the resolution, Plague said some other campuses only have ombuds offices for students because faculty members have union mediators to smooth out peer conflicts. At GVSU, the faculty members aren’t in a union so the ombuds office would also be a resource for them.

The resolution will be further discussed at next week’s meeting.


Doug Lipinski, GVSU’s associate athletic director of marketing, spoke to the senate about how students and others need to be careful when designing GVSU apparel.

Whether it’s for a club on campus, an intramural sports team or a fundraiser, any apparel that in some way represents GVSU must go through a manufacturer that is licensed to print the logo.

Lipinski said it is necessary to have licenses to protect the symbolism behind the university’s logo.

“We believe that it stands for championships and integrity,” he said.

Lipinski said one problem he faces is that when student organizations change presidents, the new presidents don’t always know the rules for using the logo. Part of Lipinski’s job is to educate students about what is allowed and what isn’t, but with presidents changing so often, it isn’t always easy.

If students are interested in learning all the rules of logo usage, they can go to the Athletic Department’s tab at and click on “Licensing/Logo.”


Student Senate is looking for new members for next semester, as some of the present senators will be leaving for scheduling conflicts, study abroad trips and other reasons. If students are interested in applying for one of the seats, they can find an application on the Student Senate OrgSync page under the “files” tab. Applications will be done in a rolling application process. The senate members hope to fill the seats before the end of the semester.

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