University Ombuds

The University Ombuds  is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible within the organization. As a designated neutral, remains unaligned and impartial. The Ombuds does not engage in any situation which could create a conflict of interest, holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so. However, where matters involving discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking or retaliation are reported to a campus Ombuds, the Ombuds must report such incidents to the Title IX Coordinator/DHR Administrator.

Martha Paul

What is an Ombuds Anyway?

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 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

Ombuds Annual Report 2021-2022



  • No one outside the Ombuds office will know about your visit
  • If you ask us or give us permission, we can contact other specific individuals
  • EXCEPTION: Imminent risk or serious harm to you or others


  • The Ombuds office is not an agent of notice; this is not where to make formal complaint
  • Ombuds office is an alternative to or supplement to formal processes
  • Use of Ombuds services is entirely voluntary
  • We do not determine fault, conduct investigations, or compel anyone in any way


  • We try to understand and help communicate the interests and rights of employee, but we do not.

    • Take sides in disputes
    • Try to help one person “win” and another” lose”
    • Advocate for individuals


  • The Ombuds is not part of management
  • The Ombuds has a direct line to Appropriate Administrators
    • But leadership does not tell Ombuds how to do our work
    • Ask who came to see us or what was discussed

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.