University Ombuds

The University Ombuds is an advocate for procedural fairness who supports the integrity of the campus policies and procedures and ensures the equity of their application. The Ombuds provides a neutral, confidential, and informal place to discuss a concern with the assurance that no action will be taken, nor will the visit be disclosed to anyone, without consent. The office is open to all members of the SF State community.

Martha Paul


The Ombuds can consult on all matters of concern or conflict among employees at SF State, regardless of rank, affiliation or union membership.

In keeping with the International Ombudsman Association's Code of Ethics, consultation with the University Ombuds is confidential and does not constitute a formal complaint, although any of the following might be recommendations or options provided by the Ombuds:

  • Individual Coaching on resolving a particular matter
  • Mediation between individuals in a conflict
  • Neutral facilitation of a group working through challenging issues
  • Training for a group of people focusing on managing conflict or difficult conversations
  • Consultation and instruction on how to file a formal complaint

For more information on initiatives to address bullying at SF State, please visit our information page for the Anti-Bullying Workgroup.

What is an Ombuds Anyway?


The Ombuds is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible within the organization.

Neutrality and Impartiality

The Ombuds, as a designated neutral, remains unaligned and impartial.  The Ombuds does not engage in any situation which could create a conflict of interest.


The Ombuds holds all communication with those seeing assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so.  The only exception to this privilege of confidentiality is where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.


The Ombuds, as an informal resource, does not participate in any formal adjudicative procedure related to concerns brought to their attention.

Contact Martha Paul,

If, during the course of your consultation, you decide that a formal complaint is the right option for you, you can fill out a complaint form either with Human Resources or with Equity Programs and Compliance.  Once a complaint is filed, the appropriate office will follow the procedure for conducting an intake interview and, if appropriate, following through with the process as outlined by our SF State policies.