Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Introducing the Brandeis Ombuds

Jan. 10, 2018>

Dear Brandeis Community:

I’m pleased to announce the expansion and formalization of our University Ombuds office, which will make it possible for all members of the Brandeis community — students, faculty, staff, alumni and others — to access conflict-resolution assistance for situations they might encounter at the university. Previously, this service was available only to students.

Our ombuds are experienced individuals trained to help people work through conflict and other difficult situations not easily addressed through traditional mechanisms (like the formal grievance process in Human Resources or the rights and responsibilities processes in Student Affairs). In other words, they provide alternatives to adversarial dispute resolution not available elsewhere.

Ombuds are completely impartial, confidential and independent. They listen and help community members identify formal and informal ways to resolve issues, such as tension with a colleague or miscommunication with a faculty member. The ombuds will not share any information without your permission, except in situations involving risks of serious harm.

The members of our ombuds team are:

  • Don Greenstein, who leads the team, comes to Brandeis with almost 30 years of conflict-resolution experience in government, educational institutions and the private sector.
  • Elena Lewis has extensive background in reconciliation efforts and intergroup dialogue. She has more than 14 years of experience at Brandeis (where she currently serves as director of the Student Support Services Program) and has served as student ombuds for the past two years.
  • Cathy Burack, who has more than 15 years of experience at Brandeis as a senior fellow at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, has researched colleges and universities as workplaces and communities for more than 25 years.

Don and Cathy will provide ombuds services to all Brandeis community members. Elena will continue to focus on ombuds services for undergraduate and graduate students.

The University Ombuds website contains ombuds-team biographies, contact information, office hours and other important information about what the ombuds can do for you.

You can contact the ombuds by calling 781-616-2265 or visiting the new website to set up an appointment to meet.


Mark Brimhall-Vargas
Chief Diversity Officer and
VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion