The UvA invests in creating a safe working and study environment by focusing on information, awareness, help and support. The position of ombudsperson has an important role in the system of social safety, which is why it was decided to appoint an ombudsperson.
Employees and students can contact the ombudsperson iin confidence if they need someone to listen to their story, independent and impartial advice or mediation in their work or study situation. These situations can vary from problems in the working relationship between individuals, to undesirable behaviour and integrity issues. The ombudsperson can also refer you on (see an overview of different persons and institutions in the support guide for staff and students) or have an investigation carried out.
Contact the ombudsperson
The ombudsperson can be reached confidentially via the email address and telephone number below. You can call or email to make an appointment for a personal meeting (on location or online).
T: +31 (0)20 525 2501
About Samera Ouchene
Samera Ouchene started as the UvA's ombudsperson on 6 September 2021. She has been appointed for a period of four years, with the option of being reappointed for two further terms. UvA ombudsperson is a full-time appointment.
Samera (1977) is a lawyer and worked for the Dutch Ministry of Finance in various managerial positions for many years. She supervised professionals working together on issues in the fields of enforcement, oversight and integrity.
'Employees and students can come to me if they need to tell their story, independent and confidential advice or mediation. Meaningful work, because I can help others and thus contribute to social safety within the UvA. A pleasant working and studying environment is important to us all and an essential condition for good education and research.
We strengthen social safety in particular by investing in a learning organisation: by learning from cases and paying attention to prevention. We do this by investing in the development of awareness and signalling and starting conversations about behaviour. We can help each other by giving and receiving feedback, encouraging debate, investing in professional courage and ethical leadership and leading by example.
It is a joint responsibility to continue to work actively on social safety. After all, we can only strengthen social safety together.'
Assistant to the ombudsperson
Jennifer Aggus joined the office of the Ombudsperson as advisor on 1 June 2022. Jennifer graduated from the UvA with an MSc in Sociology in 2010. Since then, Jennifer has worked for a number of international NGOs. For the last 10 years, Jennifer has worked with Doctors Without Borders where she worked on strengthening social safety and ensuring a comprehensive response to reports of inappropriate behaviour within the organisation.
Jennifer is originally from Canada, is interested in the social causes and consequences of behaviour and looks forward to making a meaningful contribution towards ensuring a safe work and study-environment for all, in particular individuals who are underrepresented or experience marginalisation within the UvA.
'A precondition for students and staff to thrive is that they feel safe and respected for who they are. When this goes wrong – we are, after all, humans with diverse experiences, expectations and boundaries – it is essential that a safe and confidential manner exists for individuals to report, and that these reports are addressed. Within the office of the Ombudsperson, we offer this safe channel to report concerns related to structural social safety.'
Since June 1, 2022, Maya Kartasasmita has been working as personal assistant to the ombudsperson. In recent years, Maya has worked in various support positions at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Her interest in ombuds work arose during her work as a quality assurance officer and occupational health and safety coach at the RIVM and grew during her studies in occupational and organizational psychology.
My work consists of the careful and discrete acceptance of reports, the scheduling of appointments and various secretarial and organizational tasks in support of Samera and Jennifer. A very nice position to which I commit myself with gratitude.'
Working method and tasks
The ombudsperson carries out their duties independently and impartially and is not subordinate to any body in the performance of these duties. The ombudsperson has a duty of confidentiality. The tasks and authorities are laid down in the Regulations Ombuds Officer University of Amsterdam 2021 (adopted by the CvB on 12 October 2021).
Key tasks of the ombudsperson:
- Handling reports from employees and students: advising, mediating, investigating, assessing and/or referring.
- Signalling developments and patterns within the organisation and making recommendations to the Executive Board and the dean or director of the faculty or service concerned.
Annual report ombudsperson a.i.
Jacqueline Schoone was ombudsperson a.i. from November 2019 to September 2021, and made preparations for the permanent filling of the position of ombudsperson. Read the report here.
In 2024, the Executive Board and representative advisory bodies will conduct an evaluation that will lead to a decision regarding whether or not to continue the position. In doing so, we will evaluate not only the ombudsperson job position itself, but also the clarity of the assigned tasks and cooperation with the other relevant actors within the domain of social safety.
- Shared responsibility