Our services are voluntary and free. Additionally, our staff is available to provide workshops and training for campus organizations and will work with you to tailor a program for individual groups or departments. Our office looks forward to working with you whether it's regarding large concerns or if you’d like to ask a quick question.
Meet Our Staff
Kouang Chan, Director and Ombudsperson
Kouang is excited to be a part of the Longhorn family. He enjoys working with students and engaging them in transformative learning. He believes that where there is conflict, there is opportunity for growth and development. Kouang is a graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law. While at Oregon, he also obtained his Masters in Conflict and Dispute Resolution. He is a trained facilitator, mediator, and believer of constructive dialogue.
Vivian Wilbon, Senior Administrative Associate
Vivian is the longest-standing staff member within the Office of the University Ombuds. She began working in the office in May 2006 and has been a valuable asset with her knowledge of the history of the office and the University. She serves as the point of contact for visitors to the office, coordinates outreach efforts for the office, and serves as the office administrator. Vivian has also been trained in the Foundations of the Organizational Ombudsman (formerly Ombuds 101) from the International Ombudsman Association. She began her career at UT-Austin in June 2000 working in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Vivian enjoys working with university students. Since she is typically the first point of contact in the office, she feels that she can help provide initial reassurance in the midst of their concern. Vivian earned her bachelor's degree in Psychology from St. Edward's University.
Keelan Apthorpe, Graduate Assistant
Keelan is the newest member of the Office of the University Ombuds. She is a proud Texas Ex and continuing student. Keelan enjoys contributing to student wellbeing and helping them work through their concerns. She is a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and received a Bachelor of Science in Corporate Communication. She is continuing her education at UT, pursuing her master's in Interpersonal Communication. Keelan is a certified conflict mediator and facilitator with training in dispute resolution.
Principles of the Office of the Student Ombuds
- In order to create a safe place to voice concerns, evaluate issues, and identify options, the OSO respects the confidentiality and privacy of all persons.
- The OSO takes confidentiality seriously. However, exceptions are made with expressed permission from the student or as required by law or university policy, including imminent harm to self or others.
- The OSO does not side with individuals, the University, or any other parties involved.
- The OSO considers the interests and concerns of all parties involved with the aim of developing fair and equitable options toward resolution.
- The OSO is authorized to act independently including reviewing procedural irregularities.
- The OSO does not have authority to establish, change, or dismiss any University policy or override the decisions of University officials. However, the OSO has access to all University officials and records as needed to carry out the functions of the Office.
- The OSO reports directly to the President of the University to ensure independence in the fulfillment of duties.
- The use of our office services is strictly voluntary and individuals cannot be sanctioned for using or not using the Ombuds office.
- The OSO cannot offer legal advice, therapy services, or make binding recommendations or decisions.
- The OSO does not participate in formal processes even if given permission by the student or other visitors. The OSO does assist students in accessing formal procedures including making referrals to proper avenues to request that the university takes formal action.
The Office of the Student Ombuds reserves the right to deny any case that falls outside our role and responsibilities. All efforts will be made to refer students to other appropriate resources, as needed.
Office of the Student Ombuds
The mission of the Office of the Student Ombuds (OSO) is to provide a neutral, impartial, and confidential environment for students to voice concerns related to life at The University of Texas at Austin and to provide information and assistance to students who have University-related questions or complaints. The OSO functions in an independent and informal manner to help students discover pathways and options for effective problem solving and conflict resolution. The OSO also identifies and provides recommendations to the University regarding systemic issues.
The credibility of the office rests on its reputation for independence, impartiality, fairness, objectivity, tact, and respectful concern for the welfare of all members of the University community and the well-being of the University. The Student Ombuds advocates for fair and equitably administered processes and does not side with individuals or the University. The Office helps the University uphold the institutional core values, student honor code, and university code of conduct.