UCOP opens Ombuds Office and welcomes interim ombudsperson Bodi Regan
UCOP Human Resources is pleased to announce the opening of an Ombuds Office for employees to resolve workplace conflict in a safe and confidential manner. Working in partnership with the UC Berkeley Ombuds Office, Bodi Regan (he/him) will temporarily fill the role of UCOP ombudsperson.
UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D., sees this office as a high priority and an important part of the ongoing anti-racism initiatives, which were announced last summer as part of UCOP’s strategic framework. The office, which reports directly to the UC Office of the President, is distinct from, yet complementary to, Human Resources, Compliance and other formal offices.
What’s an Ombudsperson?
An ombudsperson empowers individuals and organizations to overcome disputes, conflicts and barriers that stand in the way of reaching their full potential.
The primary duties of an organizational ombudsman are to (1) work with individuals and groups in an organization to explore and assist them in determining options to help resolve conflicts, problematic issues or concerns, and (2) bring systemic concerns to the attention of the organization for resolution.
What does the Ombuds Office do?
The Ombuds Office provides confidential*, impartial and informal conflict-resolution and problem-solving services for all UCOP employees. The Ombuds Office is a safe place to voice and clarify concerns, understand conflict situations and find effective ways to respond.
Ombuds services include:
- Conflict analysis
- Strategies to resolve and prevent disputes
- Identification of options and information
- Effective communication coaching
- Group facilitation
- Resource referrals
Employees are free to discuss a range of concerns with the ombudsperson; nothing is too small or big to raise with the ombudsperson. For example, one employee may simply need a safe place for information and guidance on how to address a disagreement with a coworker, peer or supervisor. Another employee may have specific questions related to policy, compliance or ethical and legal requirements. And, another employee may need assistance to address bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination or other forms of workplace misconduct.
The UCOP Ombuds Office operates in accordance with the International Ombudsman Association Standards of Practice.
*The Ombuds Office is able to provide complete confidentiality, except when there is an imminent threat to self or others.
What does the Ombuds Office not do?
It is important to note that the Ombuds Office does not:
- Advocate or take sides
- Provide psychological counseling
- Give legal advice
- Conduct investigations
- Make management decisions or policy
- Substitute for formal channels
- Receive notice of claims against an organization
- Testify or produce documents in legal or other proceedings
How to contact the Ombuds Office
If you would like to talk with the ombudsperson, initiate contact as follows:
- Call the Ombuds Office at (510) 332-3791, during office hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time. You can leave a voicemail message, at any time, on the Ombuds Office confidential line.
- The assistant ombudsperson, Rachel Nicholson, will either conduct an intake/screening process with you at that time or call you back within 24 hours (M-F).
- Once the intake/screening process is complete, you will be scheduled for an appointment with the ombudsperson.
At this time, all conversations with the office will be via telephone or Zoom. The office doesn’t use email to protect the anonymity of anyone who chooses to use its services.
About Bodi Regan
Bodi Regan, in addition to serving as the UCOP interim ombudsperson, is a faculty member in the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Master of Science Program and the Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University where he teaches a variety of negotiation and conflict resolution courses. Bodi previously served as the associate ombudsperson at UC Berkeley.
Bodi has over 25 years of experience as a mediator, facilitator and workshop leader. He has applied his negotiation and conflict resolution expertise and skills in a variety of professional roles and settings, including at Brooklyn Law School where he was the director of the Mediation Clinic and adjunct professor of Clinical Law. Bodi is the former director of the Simon Wiesenthal – New York Tolerance Center, a professional development, multimedia training facility, providing educators, law enforcement officials, government practitioners and corporate groups interactive, experiential workshops exploring the issues of implicit bias, prejudice, diversity, tolerance and cooperation in schools, workplaces and communities.
Bodi has a certificate of completion in the foundations of organizational ombuds practice from the International Ombudsman Association, and a certificate in brain-based leadership coaching from the NeuroLeadership Institute. He is a certified mediation trainer for the New York State Unified Court System and a member of the California Bar Association and several alternative dispute resolution (ADR) professional organizations.
About Rachel Nicholson
Rachel has always been drawn to the culture, mission and environment of UC Berkeley. She hopes that through her work at the Staff Ombuds Office, she can uphold the motto of the institution by empowering staff to gain knowledge and discover solutions in relation to conflict transformation.
Prior to joining the team at UC Berkeley, Rachel was a case assistant at the University of Oregon Ombuds Program, which served staff, students and faculty. Rachel is a “double duck,” earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Oregon. She earned her master’s degree in conflict and dispute resolution with a focus on university ombuds programs specifically, with her final project titled, “Working Within the System: Understanding How Policies, Structures, and Culture Influence the Operations of the University Ombuds.”
During her time at Oregon, she volunteered with the Lane County Circuit Court in the small claims division, helping people resolve their disputes through mediation. She also worked with youth in the criminal justice system and began the process of bringing mediation services to rural parts of the state. Rachel is passionate about the transformative potential of mediation and relationship preservation through informal conflict management.
Visit the UCOP Ombuds Office website for more information and to bookmark the page for future reference.Tags: Bodi Regan, Ombuds Office, ombudsperson, Rachel Nicholson