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JASNA’s annual conference and regional events are intended to be safe, inclusive, comfortable environments in which people of all backgrounds can come together to celebrate Austen’s works, life, and genius and feel respected. Therefore, we encourage anyone who has a concern or situation involving JASNA’s Community Guidelines to report the issue as soon as possible so it can be addressed.

To make sure members feel comfortable reporting an incident, JASNA has appointed an Ombudsperson, or Ombuds, as a resource to support members in managing challenges and conflicts. The Ombuds provides a safe space and gives confidential, impartial, informal, and independent assistance to members who are seeking guidance or want to report an incident.

What Does the Ombudsperson Do?

You can expect the Ombuds to:

  • Provide a confidential space to collaboratively explore complaints, clarify issues, and consider options to address concerns.
  • Listen impartially.
  • Encourage and empower members to find their own solutions to problems.
  • With member’s permission and while maintaining confidentiality, consult with other members and regional and national officers as needed to gather information about an issue and explore options for a satisfactory resolution. Everyone with whom the Ombuds consults will also be asked to maintain confidentiality.
  • Explain or suggest next steps and get member’s agreement and permission to proceed.
  • Facilitate communication when conflict arises.
  • Serve as a facilitator or mediator in small or large group settings when appropriate.
  • Promote fairness, equality, inclusion, and access for all persons.
  • Follow up as appropriate to determine outcome and further need of assistance.
  • Keep information confidential after concerns or situations are resolved OR the process has reached a point where the Ombuds deems they can no longer effectively participate.
  • Serve as a catalyst for organizational change by reporting trends and identifying opportunities to enhance and improve JASNA’s national and regional policies and procedures.

The Ombuds cannot impose remedies or sanctions, or enforce or change a JASNA policy, rule, or procedure. Such actions are the purview of JASNA’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee.

What Does the Ombuds Report to JASNA?

Each year the Ombudsperson will submit a report to the JASNA President and Board of Directors that provides general information about the demographics, issues, and concerns of members reporting issues, including information on what they have experienced, how the issue was handled, any trends or patterns the Ombuds has observed, and any recommendations the Ombuds may have. The report will also include any issues reported by Regional and AGM Coordinators. Data shared with JASNA does not include members’ names or any other identifying information.

How to Contact the Ombudsperson

You can contact JASNA’s Ombudsperson to ask questions, report an issue, or set up an appointment by email at JASNAOmbudsperson@gmail.com. 

Filling out a form is not necessary, but an outline of the type of information you may find useful to provide can be found in the JASNA Member Portal: Report Submission Prompts.

Office Hours

Mondays, 11:00am–2:00pm ET
Thursdays, 7:00pm–9:00pm ET
Or arrange an appointment

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Will my identity and the identifiable details about my issue be kept confidential? | Show Details Hide Details

Yes. The person who requests assistance from the Ombuds decides whether the issue will be discussed with anyone else.

Will the Ombudsperson keep any records? | Show Details Hide Details

To protect members' confidentiality, the Ombuds will not create or maintain documents or records about individual matters for JASNA. The only data that will be shared with JASNA are demographics and information on the types of challenges, issues, and concerns reported. Data shared with JASNA is not associated with members’ names or any other identifying information.

Will the Ombudsperson respond to an anonymous complaint? | Show Details Hide Details

No. In order to understand the essential details of a concern and provide assistance, the Ombuds needs to discuss the situation with the person submitting the complaint. The Ombuds' ethical standard of confidentiality and supporting practices protects identity.

Is the Ombuds authorized to receive reports on JASNA policies or unlawful practices? | Show Details Hide Details

No. The Ombudsperson is not authorized to receive reports about JASNA policies or unlawful practices. Therefore, communications made to the Ombuds regarding possible legal violations do not constitute notice to JASNA. This provision ensures the freedom of the Ombuds to work independently and confidentially with individuals seeking assistance.



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