Ada Gregory, Ombudsperson


Ombudsperson services are available to all students.

Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students may call Ada Gregory in the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs at 919-684-6334. If the situation requires immediate or urgent consultation, call (mobile) 919-257-0160.

School of Medicine students and postdoctoral appointees from all departments may contact
Dr. Jean Spaulding at 919-668-3326.

Faculty members should contact Dr. Jeffrey Dawson at 919-613-7811.

The Ombudsperson Role

  • Provides a neutral, safe, and confidential environment to talk
  • Listens to concerns and complaints and discusses appropriate options
  • Helps to evaluate those options
  • Assists students in resolving problems
  • Mediates conflicts, convenes meetings, engages in "shuttle diplomacy"
  • Refers students to appropriate campus resources
  • Provides information about university resources
  • Strict confidentiality is essential to the Ombudsperson function and helps create a safe place for visitors to voice concerns, evaluate issues and identify options. The Ombudsperson does not disclose the identity of visitors to the office or the content of conversations unless, in the course of the confidential communications, permission has been given to do so. The only exception to confidentiality is when the Ombudsperson determines there is imminent risk of serious harm, or as required by legal process.


What the Ombudsperson Does NOT Do

  • Adjudicate or participate in formal university grievance processes
  • Determine guilt of any party in a dispute
  • Get involved in any formal litigation or testify in court
  • Provide legal advice
  • Assign sanctions to individuals
  • Replace the function of any official university office, department or process
  • Keep records of students and/or conversations


Examples of Services Provided by an Ombudsperson

  • Helps resolve or mediate a dispute with an individual or group.
  • Helps decide how to approach a person who you think is causing a problem.
  • Discusses how to approach a fellow student who has made an offensive or insensitive comment.
  • Assists when you are uncertain what Duke policies or procedures apply to your situation.
  • Assists when you don't know what individual or university department is appropriate to go to for an answer to a specific question or to obtain a particular service.
  • Helps when you feel as if you have been unfairly treated by anyone on campus.
  • Engages in "shuttle diplomacy" to solve a problem between you and a student/employee.
  • Helps you evaluate and select among a variety of options to address a concern with a fellow student or department
  • Helps resolve or mediate a non-grade- or non-evaluation-related dispute with a faculty member.


Special Note on Sexual Misconduct

  • The Ombudsperson is one of the university's confidential resources for situations involving sexual misconduct, along with the Women's Center staff, Counseling and Psychological Services staff, Student Health staff, and clergy acting as such in their professional role at Duke.
  • Ada Gregory, the Student Ombudsperson, is available to provide resources, support, and reporting options in situations involving student sexual misconduct.
  • In particular, Ms. Gregory is the university's sole confidential resource for sexual misconduct situations occurring in Duke programs taking place outside of North Carolina, including study abroad proograms.
  • The Ombudsperson will not provide mediation in situations involving sexual violence and does not provide professional counseling; a student needing such counseling will be referred to one of the other confidential resources or may contact them directly.