Brock University is pleased to announce that Kelly Barker will join Brock as its new Ombudsperson on Monday, Feb. 3.
Barker brings to Brock a background that includes serving as in-house counsel for two major Ontario police services as well as two child protection agencies, where she developed a reputation for highly effective dispute resolution to avoid the courtroom, resolving issues through mediation and communication.
Barker’s appointment also marks the start of a new mandate for the office. For the past decade, the Ombuds Office has been a student-centred support service operated by Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU). This year, the University has become a funding partner, alongside BUSU and the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA).
Brock’s Ombuds Office is an independent and impartial body for conflict resolution and confidential service. It does not intervene in matters covered by a collective agreement, unless all parties consent to the Ombudsperson’s informal involvement.
Brock President Fearon said the University is indebted to BUSU for taking the lead on providing this service for so many years.
“The leadership provided by BUSU laid the foundation for this new structure, a service that is available to the entire Brock community,” said Fearon. “This new structure reflects the themes expressed in the the 2017 Human Rights Task Force Report and the priorities of the 2018 Strategic Plan to ensuring everyone has somewhere to turn with questions about policies and processes. I am proud that we are making the institutional changes to support the development of an engaged and inclusive university culture. I thank BUSU and GSA for their contributions in making these efforts possible for the benefit of all members of the Brock University community.”
Ombuds services exist at most Canadian universities. At Brock, its activities and files remain confidential to the Ombuds office and are not accessible to the individual, board or committee that the Ombuds reports to. Ombudspersons also report publicly on their operations through an annual report published on their website.
The Ombuds has an advisory committee with representation from BUSU, GSA, teaching faculty, Human Rights & Equity, and University senior administration.
The Ombuds Office is situated in Thistle 252A.