Hungary’s first university ombuds office has been established

Hungary’s first university ombuds office has been established
On 12 November 2018, the Senate of ELTE voted by a vast majority in favour of the University Ombudsman Regulations. Several high-ranking universities in other countries have had an ombudsman for a long time now. In Hungary, the Eötvös Loránd University is the first institution of higher education to introduce ombudsmanship.

The university ombudsman is an official who meets strict professional and ethical standards, and acts independently of the institutional units of the university, while being committed to the highest level of impartiality and confidentiality. The ombudsman may be contacted by any university citizen (students, teachers, internal employees) if they feel that they have suffered harm or injustice within the university environment that threatens their dignity or can be considered unfair in some other ways.

Similarly to the ombudsman of other institutions, the ombudsman of the university has no decision-making power, but enjoys broad investigatory rights. These enable him to contact members of the university community directly, obtain complete information, and inspect files.

His duties comprise proposing solutions to problems having consulted university citizens turning to him for help, and mediating between partners in a conflict (if necessary), or initiating the involvement of other academics, decision-makers, and advisory bodies in the procedure. On the basis of the complaints received, the ombudsman may also thoroughly investigate the activities and institutional practices of the university connected to university citizens, and may come up with recommendations with regard to them. While respecting personality rights, the ombudsman regularly informs the community of the university about the complaints he receives, as well as the measures proposed, the recommendations issued, and the measures taken in connection with them.

The call for applications for the position of ombudsman is to be launched by the university on 11 February 2019, at the latest. University citizens can take part in the evaluation of applications. In the coming period, the university will regularly inform the university’s publics via many channels of communication about the activities of the future university ombudsman. As part of this, there will be an elective course that the students of every faculty can sign up for in the spring semester.