Skip to content

History of the Ombud

Universities in the United States began appointing ombudsmen in the 1960s in response to the student protest movement and to better adapt to the growing diversity of needs and concerns within university communities. Among the initial universities to establish an Ombudsman’s Office, the University of Washington appointed its first Ombud in 1969. The purpose was to improve communications regarding University operations and to enable members of the University community to protect their rights and have their concerns responded to efficiently and effectively, it was not intended to replace existing University governance or appeal procedure

In 1979, this University became the first higher education institution in the nation to establish the office of the Ombudsman for Sexual Harassment. The role of the Ombudsman for Sexual Harassment was discontinued in 2008 with the creation of the Title IX/ADA Coordinator, but the Ombud continues to provide support around these issues. All programs and services are designed for faculty, staff, students, alumni, visitors, and others who use the University’s facilities and services.