The go-to person for conflicts

Students facing issues they feel they can’t handle by themselves have a resource they may not be aware of. The University of Miami Ombudsperson is available to assist students with problems ranging from issues with an academic department, parking, housing, registration and other University-related issues.

The current Ombudsperson, Mariana Valdes-Fauli, has been in the position at UM for almost two years.

“I enjoyed the concept of alternative dispute resolution in law school and being able to combine these concepts with helping students seems like the perfect job,” Valdes-Fauli said.

Valdes-Fauli serves students by being an impartial, private and informal third party in conflicts. Her role is not to take sides, but to advocate for a fair resolution for all parties by considering everyone’s rights and interests. Students are guaranteed that everything they speak to the Ombudsperson about will remain in confidence unless otherwise required by UM policies and procedures.

Even in situations that don’t require conflict resolution, the Ombudsperson is a valuable asset for students. Valdes-Fauli can answer questions, explain policies and refer students to other University resources that could be helpful in their situations.

In addition, the Office of the Ombudsperson also has an established Troubleshooters program. This program is set up to help students resolve issues at the lowest level possible.

Faculty members and administrators serve as troubleshooters in their specific area of UM. They are a resource for students seeking assistance with academic and non-academic matters.

If the Troubleshooter is unable to solve a student’s problem the next step is the Ombudsperson. Students can find a list of Troubleshooters at Valdes-Fauli can be reached at 305-284-4922 or by email at

Catherine Howden can be contacted at