More than someone who listens to you, it’s someone who seeks to make a difference on behalf of students.
More than someone who listens to you, it’s someone who gives you a voice.
Human organizations are complex and not easy to manage. In a world that means to be modern and democratic, this management has, as its ultimate objective and basic principle of action – justice. What is just does not always coincide with the goals of any particular person, but must serve the good of all. Therefore, it is good that which is just, because it leaves no one out. Being just demands a constant balance between rights (the good of oneself) and duties (the good of the other).
The figure of the Ombudsperson makes sense precisely as someone who helps the Student to get information, to question again, to dialogue, to know how to “demand”, but also to know how to listen and know how to “lose”. As an Ombudsperson, I am committed to helping students to know and defend their rights, and to know and remember their duties.
Just citizens make for just societies!
Shall we, together, embrace this challenge?
Odília Domingues Cavaco
The Student Ombudperson’s mission is to defend and promote the rights and interests of students at the Instituto Politécnico da Guarda, carrying out its functions with complete autonomy regarding the other bodies of the Institute. The performance of the Student Ombudsperson is based on the principles of independence, impartiality and confidentiality.
The Ombudsperson’s sphere of action encompasses all governance bodies, services and agents of the central structure of the Politécnico da Guarda, Social Services, Schools and other organic and functional units.
Students may, individually or collectively, submit complaints to the Ombudsperson related to the action or omission of the bodies, services and agents of the Institute and its Organic Units, as well as make suggestions, namely on pedagogical issues or relating to school social services.
The Ombudsperson Office, like its employees and third parties involved, is subject to a commitment of confidentiality regarding the information it has had access to.
The functions of the Ombudsperson’s are defined in the Regulations of the Student Ombudsman of the Instituto Politécnico da Guarda approved by Dispatch 87/P.IPG/10 of 8 of October, 2010 according to the competence foreseen at paragraph 1, of article 40 of the Statutes of the Instituto Politécnico da Guarda.
While maintaining an independent, impartial and confidential nature, the Student Ombudsman also acts in a more informal way, thus seeking to minimize disruptions between the parties involved.
WHAT DOES THE STUDENT OMBUDSPERSON DO?
- It provides a suitable environment for a calm, informal, independent, impartial and confidential discussion of the problems presented by the students;
- Mediates between the parties in conflict and indicates clues for the resolution of problems;
- Evaluates the complaints and claims presented by students and prepares the competent “Case Reports”, which contain the conclusions, decisions and recommendations reached;
- It helps to clarify policies and procedures practiced at the Instituto Politécnico da Guarda, namely in the field of pedagogical activity and school social action and, in this context, recommends the necessary changes;
- It issues generic recommendations with a view to safeguarding the interests of students, namely in the field of pedagogical activity and school social action;
- Promotes inspection activities for services whose activities are aimed at students and other services about which there are doubts as to the regularity of operation;
- It prepares an annual report with a summary of its activity, safeguarding the confidentiality of the complaints presented. Report that is released after its submission to the IPG General Council, the IPG President and Student Associations.
WHAT CAN'T A STUDENT OMBUDSPERSON DO?
- Deciding whether someone is guilty or innocent;
- Decide on possible penalties to be applied;
- Participate in formal litigation processes;
- Be a witness of the Instituto Politécnico Guarda or of the complaining student;
- Give legal advice;
- Annul or modify acts of statutorily competent bodies, or even suspend the course of any deadlines, namely those of complaint, hierarchical appeal or exercise of any other rights;
- Interfere with concrete results of school evaluation or in acts related to ongoing disciplinary proceedings in which students participate as defendants or whistleblowers.
When To Look For The Student Ombudsperson?
For most problematic situations, the student must, at his school or in the services, try to solve the problems by the means at his disposal: teachers, employees, course directors, coordinators of the Technical-Scientific Units and other statutorily competent bodies.
In those situations for which a solution has not been found with the available resources, the student should seek the Ombudsperson Office, preferably before reaching a situation of rupture between the parties in conflict.
Regardless of these considerations, the student, if he/she so wishes, always has the possibility to immediately appeal to the Student Ombudsperson in situations he/she deems relevant.
The Student Ombudsman and his collaborators are subject to the duty of secrecy, under the terms of the law, in relation to information regarding the rights to intimacy and private life.
The third parties involved in the investigations are subject to a confidentiality commitment regarding all the information to which they had access during the investigations.
If the student’s identification is essential in the investigations, the student will be informed of this and will have the opportunity to decide whether or not to proceed with the complaint presented.
DUTY OF COOPERATION
All the organs and services of the Institute and its organic units have the duty to collaborate with the Student Ombudsman, namely through the prompt and punctual provision of information and the delivery of requested documents, in order to ensure the proper performance of its functions.
COMPLAINTS / COMPLAINTS ROUTE
- The Ombudsperson shall inform the complainant or his representative in writing within a period of fifteen (working) days of the steps taken following the acceptance of the complaint, or of the grounds on which its rejection is based;
- Whenever the Ombudsperson dismisses a complaint, it will report, in writing, with the proper reasoning, to the complainant or his representative.
- Once the complaints or claims are admitted, the Ombudsperson collects the elements she deems necessary to establish the facts and requests, if she so wishes, to the complained entity or any body of the Institute, its teaching and research organic units and services, to provide of information within a reasonable time to be determined by the Ombudsperson;
- The complainant and the bodies, agents and services to which the complaint refers will have the opportunity to comment, in writing or orally, on the matter of the complaint;
- When justified, the Ombudsperson may also hear the Academic Association of the IPG, the Student Association of the School of Health and/or the Student Association of the School of Tourism and Hospitality;
- The Ombudsperson then prepares a Case Report that contains the conclusions, decision and recommendations he has reached following the accepted complaint or the procedure he has carried out on his own initiative.
- In case of high institutional impact, the Report will be sent to the General Council of the IPG.
TALK TO THE STUDENT’S OMBUDSPERSON
CONTACTS AND SERVICE HOURS
IPG Central Services
Av. Dr. Francisco Sá Carneiro Nº 50
Phone: (+351) 271 220 111 (extensão 2042)
School of Education, Communication and Sports
School of Technology and Management
Central Services – Ombudsperson Office
Tuesday from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm
Thursday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
School of Tourism and Hospitality
Thursday from 9:00 am to 11:00 am
School of Health
Thursday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
(Only in Portuguese)