We thank all for your concern and your energetic support for a neutral organizational ombudsperson. We continue to hold that the appointment of such a person, who would be agreeable to all parties, is very important to ensure that complaints can be treated expeditiously in a process that is safe and agreeable to all, whatever the outcome. We see this as an important ingredient to reduce unnecessary tension during the coming months, and to facilitate the rehabilitation of trust.
In light of some responses we have seen on social media, we feel it is important to clarify an aspect of the proposed agreement sent by the Board of Trustees to the group. The Board renewed its proposal of using the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center (LMPC) which specializes in conflict mediation as part of a process of reconciliation. We continue to think this plan is promising for the health and healing of the entire community, and so are pleased to see that it continues to be part of the Board’s commitment to the long-term health of the Seminary.
We consider it very important, however, to have in addition to or alongside LMPC an organizational ombudsperson, who is designated neutral and who is agreeable to all, a person to whom all could turn if concerns should arise.
This role is quite well-known in educational institutions, governmental agencies, and even private corporations in North America and elsewhere. Such persons are always designated neutral persons, high-ranking, but not part of the executive management. They stand along side, but are distinct from people working as conflict mediators.
We learned this afternoon that there is provision in the Seminary’s agreement with LMPC to have an independent third party attend certain sessions. This may provide an opportunity for a role for an ombudsperson; it would need to be determined by the mediators whether such a person would help best inside or outside this process.
Above all we long to return to our ministries in the Seminary for the good of our students and the good of our institution.
The GTS 8.