The literature shows that opinions about the value of ombudsman mediation also vary.
Earle W. Clifford, dean of students at Rutgers [1952–1973], compared the ombudsman 'to putting a penny in the fuse socket when a circuit blows.'
He has argued, 'A decision to go the ombudsman route is a fine advertisement for the failure of an administration in general or a student personnel program in particular to meet responsibilities for equity and communication in an academic community.'
Yet even when it is admitted that an ombudsman is little more than palliative in situations that require dramatic reform, most observers would agree the position can mitigate certain disagreeable conditions and, at times, even potentially explosive conflicts on the campus.
A city ombudsman noted that an ombudsman can isolate aberrations in the bureaucratic system, suggest ways of reaching mutually agreed upon ends and point out new applications of institutional functions.
Source: Diary of a Dean by Herbert I. London, pages 19-20.