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Advocacy & Ombudsman

Advocacy & Ombudsman

We’re not lawyers, but we’re here to support you. If you're facing a bureaucratic challenge or are up against one of UBC’s disciplinary committees, we’re on your side, ready to advocate on your behalf.

Advocacy & Ombudsman

The Advocacy and Ombuds offices are here to help you resolve disputes during your time at UBC. We do very different things, but together form the conflict resolution team.

Advocacy

The Advocacy Office provides confidential and effective guidance to undergraduate students who are in formal conflicts with the university. Formal conflicts include academic disputes, non-academic disputes, housing appeals, library fines and parking disputes. We are always pro-student.

Ombuds

The Ombuds Office is an independent, impartial body for conflict resolution and confidential service. We don’t answer to the AMS, we don’t answer to the university, and we don’t answer to anyone else except you.

Advocacy Office

The Advocacy Office was established in 1999 to provide information and support to students facing the bureaucratic challenges and disciplinary committees of UBC. We strive to do our absolute best to provide students with information about UBC’s policies and procedures when they are in a formal conflict with the university. But, we are not lawyers, and do not provide legal advice! Rather, we are here to offer confidential and effective support to any undergraduate and graduate student at UBC in regards to the disputes outlined below.

  • Non Academic Misconduct – Non Academic Misconduct may include vandalism of University property, harassing others individuals, and stealing on Campus Grounds. We can also assist and advocate for the rights of students accused under policy 131 – Sexual Assault and Other Sexual Miscondcuct.
  • Academic Misconduct – Academic Misconduct may include engaging or attempting to engage in cheating, plagiarism, falsifying information, etc.
  • Academic standing – Academic Standing refers to issues such as failing a grade or promotion to next level of studies.
  • Housing appeals – Housing incidents that relate to the UBC Resident Contract, subletting, etc.
  • Parking disputes – Appealing a Traffic Notice (Parking ticket disputes).
  • Library fine appeals – Appealing library fines and other charges.

Getting Advocacy Assistance

Advocacy Coordinator Office hours
Lisa Crossley

advocate@ams.ubc.ca

(604) 822-9855

NEST 3118

By appointment only.

Guidelines

  • We are not lawyers and do not provide legal advice
  • We do not present or advocate for students on their behalf, but merely provides assistance
  • The Advocacy Coordinator does not compile or write student appeal documents
  • The Advocacy Coordinator has no investigative weight, role or function in resolving or addressing a student’s issues/ concerns beyond bringing group advocacy trends to AMS elected student Executives, who are the voice of students
  • For us to provide the service of highest quality, please give us at least 7 days in advance to the hearing
  • Please note that there is only one coordinator, therefore we ask you to remain patient if your email correspondence is delayed
  • We cannot guarantee the outcome, but we can ensure you that we are on your side. We’ve got your back!

Resources

Policies

Other Resources

Need More Info?

How to appeal a grade

Check out the UBC Academic Regulations and Grading Practices

  1. Talk to your instructor.
  2. Review the criteria for grading with your instructor. Sometimes they’ll give you the answer sheet, or their rubric, or whatever. Again, visit the UBC Calendar for information about viewing marked examinations.
  3. If you have reason to believe that you weren’t graded fairly, you can fill out a Review of Assigned Standing and submit it to the Registrar’s Office. The Advocacy Office can help you complete the paperwork on that.

If filing with the dean’s office doesn’t get you anywhere, you can file an appeal with the Senate’s Committee on Academic Standing here

Disputes between a graduate student and supervisor

Communication is probably the most important aspect of the student/supervisor relationship. The Ombuds Office is the expert on building communication frameworks and resolving differences, so they can help you make your relationship more productive. For further assistance, the GSS Advocacy office can offer service that is better tailored to the needs of graduate students.

Missed an examination

For everything except finals, you can contact your instructor first, then the head of your department to problem-solve a missed assessment. This includes papers, midterms, quizzes, and any other interim assessment. For finals, however, the process is more formal.

Withdrawals

“Dropping a course” means de-registering from a course and getting a full refund on tuition and the whole thing gets wiped from your record and it’s like nothing ever happened.

“Withdrawing form a course” means receiving a “W” standing on the course and no letter grade. There’s a deadline for withdrawing, which depends on the length of the course and the session it’s offered in.

Quality of Instruction

If you’re not satisfied with the quality of instruction in a course, you should contact the head of the department the course is offered in. The Ombuds Office can help you with that.

Major/Minor Applications

The primary criteria programs used in figuring out where to put you is your grades. Sometimes, however, your faculty will consider other qualifications. If you’ve worked in a field, or have some other experience, approach your faculty and ask if they will consider other qualifications. If you have to write an appeals letter, the Ombuds Office can help.

Failed a Year

Every faculty has their own conditions for advancement from year to year. If you fail a year, you may appeal the requirement to withdraw. The Ombuds Office can help you put together an appeal. Before you do that, though, talk to your academic advisor, and they’ll help you determine your options.

Practicum and Co-op disputes

If you have a dispute with your supervisor at a co-op or practicum placement, you should work with your faculty advisor or coordinator first. You should make this contact as soon as problems emerge in order to avoid complications – the sooner you address the problem, the better chance you have of solving it.

The Ombuds Office can be really helpful in this situation because your faculty advisor or coordinator is split in their responsibilities. They have to look after you, and they have to maintain their relationship with the employer. The Ombuds Office can help because they have no vested interest, and therefore no possibility of a conflict.

Visit the UBC Calendar page for more information on Academic disputes

Ombuds Office

An Ombudsperson acts impartially, is independent of every administrative body, and provides confidential service. If you’re not sure how to approach a problem you’re having with the AMS, the AMS Ombudsperson can help you.

The bread and butter of the Ombuds Office is helping students and AMS staff by providing conflict resolution services. Services include:

  • Providing conflict management services to AMS clubs and constituencies undergoing internal conflicts;
  • Receiving and investigating complaints about the AMS.

Internal disputes can be a destructive, frustrating mess, and disputes among leadership teams can tank an organization. The Ombuds Office can help steer conflicts towards a productive, positive direction. As well, they can help you understand one another and reach a resolution that is practical, acceptable, and understood by everyone involved.


Getting Ombuds assistance

The Ombuds Office needs to really understand your situation in order to help you effectively. Please contact the ombudsperon via email or telephone to set up an appointment. You can also drop by the office during opening hours.

Ombudperson Office hours
Frank Ju

ombudsperson@ams.ubc.ca

(604) 822-4846

NEST 3119

Mon: 1.00PM-5.00PM

Wed: 1.00PM-4.00PM

Fri: 1.00PM-4.00PM


Other valuable resources
  • If you feel emotionally distressed and require immediate assistance, please drop by the AMS Speakeasy desk (NEST 3125) and ask to speak with a Peer Supporter. You can also contact UBC Counselling Services or visit them during drop in hours. 
  • If you need help outside of Ombuds, Speakeasy and UBC Counselling Services hours, you can phone the Vancouver Crisis Centre at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
  • For academic issues, an Academic Advisor is the first person you can contact. Your faculty will have a number for them.
  • For anything relating to sexualized violence, get in touch with the Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC). 
  • For anything relating to equity and inclusion, visit UBC’s Equity and Inclusion Office website.
  • For anything relating to fair treatment at UBC, visit UBC’s Office of Ombudsperson For Students website.

If you have any concerns regarding the AMS Ombudsperson, you can direct them to the Oversight Committee at oversight@ams.ubc.ca.

The Guide to Student Rights and Responsibilities

The Guide to Student Rights and Responsibilities is the riveting account of the rules and regulations that affect students at UBC. The guide covers everything, including:

  • Academic standing
  • Student discipline
  • Student finances
  • University policies
  • Your responsibilities as a student

Being aware of the rules can help you take a proactive and self-aware approach to conflict resolution and management.

The ‘Little’ Guide

Reading all of the student regulations can be a daunting task so we’ve prepared The Little Guide, which contains much of the same information in a more palatable six pages.