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.'
Martine de Wit
Martine de Wit started working as the Ombudsperson's personal assistant in September 2023. Martine has studied Communications in Groningen and has been working as a senior project leader at the UvA's Communications Office for the last 12 years. Besides organising projects, she also valued the human contact, where she focused on people's stories and experiences.
Martine is responsible for accepting reports. 'It can be difficult to discuss sensitive topics. Sometimes, it's a big step for employees and students.' Martine would like to contribute to a safe reporting environment within the UvA. All reports are handled carefully and confidentially.
'Don't be afraid to come to us. My door is always open, including for a cup of coffee!'
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
- Shared responsibility