The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) serves the National University community by advocating for accepted norms of fairness, decency and ethical behavior, adherence to the letter and spirit of National University policies, and prevention of delay, complication, and unresponsiveness in the application of University rules and processes.
The OSA is a designated neutral and, as such, does not advocate for any individual or point of view. Yet, as an impartial office, the staff strive to see that people are treated fairly and equitably. The OSA is purely informal in that it supplements and does not replace the existing formal resources available to members of the College.
The OSA is designed to enhance the NU community’s ability to deal more effectively with situations they encounter. If they request additional assistance, further information can be gathered on their behalf, referrals can be made, or they can be directed to file a complaint or appeal with the appropriate office at National University. When appropriate, mediation can be employed to help find a satisfactory solution.
The OSA provides the visitor with a safe forum to voice their concerns, evaluate their situation, organize their thoughts, assess their feelings, and decide what is important and relevant according to their specific circumstances. Based on the issue at hand the OSA generates and explores options for the visitor to consider and formulate possible outcomes. Options can range from simply talking about their concerns to pursuing a formal grievance internally or externally with the proper office notice. The OSA will not accept notice for the University. NU community members choose their options and decide any course of action including the choice.
Access to Internal Formal Process
Not all problems can be solved informally, and so, the NU community member may choose a more formal grievance process available under National University policies. The OSA will discuss how to access the formal process appropriate to the circumstances but, will not participate in any formal proceedings at the University. NU community members will be subject to the policies and procedures established by National University.
Topics of Discussion
For some, the OSA will be a safe and confidential first step to addressing a problem. For others, contacting the office may occur later in the resolution of a concern.
The following are examples of some appropriate concerns that you may bring to the attention of the staff members in the OSA:
- Administrative or Bureaucratic runarounds
- Cultural misunderstandings
- Conflict of interest
- Disciplinary actions
- Educational integrity
- Ethics/Whistle blowing
- Fear of retaliation
- Formal processes for resolving issues
- Health and safety concerns
- How to make or seek an apology
- Interpersonal difficulties
- Peer relations
- Personality conflicts/meanness/incivility
- Professional/scientific misconduct
- Protecting your reputation
- Racism or other types of discrimination
- Research-related Issues
- Unprofessional conduct
- Untangling a complicated situation
As a designated neutral, the staff of the OSA does not take sides or advocate on behalf of any individual or department aiming only to achieve fairness in all cases. As appropriate, the OSA provides feedback to National University officials regarding systemic problems and trends of the campus community and provides recommendations for change.
The OSA staff will:
- Listen to the visitor’s concerns, answer questions, and provide information and referrals to help resolve the concern most effectively
- Offer an impartial perspective situation
- Provide the visitor an assessment of the issue, options for resolution and possible consequences
- Suggest ways to improve the visitor’s communication skills to manage conflict more effectively
- Facilitate communications between individuals
- Provide feedback to visitors
- Provide feedback to campus leaders about systemic trends and issues of ongoing concern
- Refer visitors to appropriate offices for formal complaint resolution options
- Serve as a resource to committees that influence campus climate
- Track perceived issues and trends
- Make recommendations for institutional improvements
The OSA staff will not:
- Establish, change, or set aside policies
- Offer legal advice
- Offer psychological counseling
- Participate in grievances or other formal processes
- Serve as an agent of notice for the University
- Serve as an advocate for any individual or department