Complaints about disrespectful behavior down at University of Iowa

Complaints to the University of Iowa Office of the Ombudsperson about disrespectful behavior declined on campus for the first time in six years, according to an annual report about the office.

In 2011-12, after five years of increases in reports about disrespectful behavior to the UI Ombuds Office, the number of visitors reporting that behavior declined slightly, which is encouraging, officials said in the annual report from the office.

Of the 502 visits last year, 22 percent (108 of them) complained of disrespectful behavior. That's down from 25 percent (123 complaints) about that problem in 2010-11, officials said. Disrespectful behavior includes bullying, and explicit complaints about workplace bullying were made by 24 visitors, or 5 percent, in 2011-12, a small drop from 6 percent the year before.

In 2011-12, the Ombuds Office provided services to 502 visitors, compared to 501 visitors served the prior year, according to the report. Of the visits, 49 percent were staff, 27 percent were students, 17 percent were faculty members and 6 percent were other visitors.

Half of all visitor concerns in 2011-12 involved an evaluative relationship, which includes problems between supervisors and employees, administrators and faculty members and advisers and graduate students. Career/academic progression was the second most-common concern, at 12 percent.

The UI Office of the Ombudsperson is a resource for faculty, staff and students with problems or concerns. The office staff provides informal conflict resolution services and advocate for fair treatment and processes.

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