Lydia Cummings, Ombudsman
An Independent Resource for Problem Resolution
About the Ombudsman
Lydia Cummings has been a member of the University community for over 30 years.
Prior to becoming an ombudsman she was the Associate Director of Labor and Employee Relations in the Office of Human Resources. Her professional areas of
expertise include employee counseling, contract negotiation, informal mediation of group conflicts, and assisting individuals to develop strategies for
Lydia serves as ombudsman for all University constituents. She is a member of the International Ombudsman
Association and practices to the code of ethics and standards of practice of the Association.
About the Office
The University Ombudsman Office is open to all Harvard University faculty, staff, fellows, students and retirees. The Office is an independent resource for problem resolution and works to ensure
that all members of the University community are treated equitably and fairly. The ombudsman can provide confidential and informal assistance to help
resolve issues related to workplace and academic environments. A visitor can discuss issues and concerns with the ombudsman without committing to further
disclosure or any formal resolution. A visitor may choose to remain anonymous. Next steps are always determined by the visitor, depending on the circumstances
and comfort with possible options. The University Ombudsman Office provides the Provost with a confidential annual statistical report that summarizes the
activity of the Office and may identify systemic problems. The Ombudsman Office is able to provide upward feedback for the institution. Office operations are
consistent with the code of ethics and standards of practice of the International Ombudsman
Association. An ombudsman is confidential, independent, and neutral.
As announced on August 28, 2009 University Ombudsman Lydia Cummings will assume public safety ombudsman functions. "In her newly expanded role, Cummings will meet with the Safety Advisory Committee, review and recommend resolutions to general and specific concerns raised by members of the University community, and bring any systemic issues to the attention of the administration, when warranted. To ensure that community members know where to bring issues, the office's expanded role will be communicated on the Harvard College Web site, in the Handbook for Students, in House newsletters, in the Freshman Newsletter, and through the residential deans."