Emory named Lynell Cadray as the inaugural University ombudsperson and senior adviser to the president. Cadray assumed the position on Tuesday and will act as a resource for informal conflict resolution within the campus community.
According to Cadray, an ombudsperson is an impartial and confidential third party who works to resolve conflicts among campus employees, administrators, faculty, students and University leadership.
The Office of the Ombudsperson will provide resources to discuss a variety of conflicts that range from interpersonal issues to generalized concerns. Cadray said her department ultimately plans to catalyze policy change by identifying broader concerns and trends.
“[The ombudsperson] serves as an agent for change,” Cadray said. “Sometimes procedures and policies can slow things down and slow processes down. … The ombudsperson can see and identify trends and patterns that need immediate attention.”
Cadray noted that bringing a conflict to an ombudsperson is much more informal than utilizing a human resources office.
“As an employee … you might be reluctant to go to a human resources office because you know that there’s a file and a case number and there’s a tracking of that,” Cadray said. “That lends itself to all types of issues that might be related to retention practices, and people might be a little reluctant to go there.”
With students, Cadray expects to deal with grade disputes, student-instructor misunderstandings, roommate conflicts and generalized concerns over procedures.
Additionally, Cadray will serve on Emory’s presidential leadership team, advising University President Claire E. Sterk on issues of university-wide concern and identifying constituent behavioral trends that require attention.
Cadray previously served in Emory’s Office of Equity and Inclusion as vice provost.
Isaiah Poritz contributed reporting.