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Welcome to the University Ombuds Office

The Auburn University Ombudsperson is a neutral resource with training in conflict resolution who provides confidential and informal assistance to the campus community. The Auburn University Ombuds Office was established in 2008 to provide a confidential, neutral source for staff and faculty to express concerns, identify options to address workplace conflicts, facilitate productive communication, and surface responsible concerns regarding university policies and practices. In 2011, the scope of these resources were expanded to include the student population.

Contact the ombudsperson at any point during an issue when a confidential conversation or source of information may be needed. The ombudsperson will listen to your concerns, give you information about University policies, help you evaluate your situation, and assist you in making plans to resolve the conflict. You control the process and decide which course of action to take. Contacting the Ombuds Office is completely voluntary and you choose the course of action that is best suited to your interests.

Mission Statement

The Office of the Ombudsperson assists all members of the Auburn University community navigate through difficult situations encountered at the University. The Ombudsperson is responsible to the principles of independence, neutrality, confidentiality and informality, as well as the values and mission of Auburn University. Every visitor to the Ombuds office is treated with respect, dignity and honor.

Fundamental Principles

The University Ombuds Office operates under the IOA Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics of the International Ombudsman Association and provides services based on the following


The Ombudsperson is independent in structure, function, appearance, and decision-making. The Ombudsperson reports to the Office of the President for budgetary and administrative purposes but does not divulge confidential information. The Ombudsperson has access to senior administrators in order to convey issues and trends. The Ombudsperson does not accept or keep records for the University.


The Ombudsperson holds confidential the identity of, and all communications from, those they assist to the maximum extent allowed by law. The Ombuds may, in their sole discretion, disclose confidential information when the person seeking assistance gives permission to do so; when failure to do so might result in an imminent risk of serious harm; or as necessary to defend against a formal complaint of professional misconduct.


The Ombuds does not participate in any evaluative, disciplinary, legal, or administrative proceedings related to concerns brought to the Ombuds’ attention. The Ombuds is not authorized to make business and policy decisions or conduct formal investigations on behalf of the University. The Ombuds is not an agent of notice for the University and is not authorized to be a formal reporting channel for the University on matters brought to the Ombuds’ attention except when specifically and expressly mandated by law


The Ombudsperson is a designated neutral and impartial resource who does not take sides or serve as an advocate for any person or entity. The Ombudsperson does promote equitable processes

There shall be no reprisals for visiting the Office of the Ombudsperson. Kevin Coonrod is registered on the Alabama State Court Mediator Roster.

Due to the confidential, neutral, informal and independent function of the Ombuds Office, communication with this office does not constitute notice to Auburn University.

Contact Information

Ombudsperson Office
Quad Center, Suite 005
(Located on the ground floor)
(334) 844-7170 Office
(334) 844-7089 Fax

C. Kevin Coonrod, JD
University Ombudsperson
(334) 844-7170

Dona Yarbrough, PhD
Associate Ombudsperson
(334) 844-7174

Meet the Ombudsperson for students, faculty, Administrative & Professional and staff members at Auburn University.

C. Kevin Coonrod is a frequent speaker on conflict resolution topics, where he enjoys conveying his confidence in the ability of people to resolve their own conflicts through creativity and self-empowerment. Coonrod is a member of the International Ombudsman Association, the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds, and the Northwest Ombuds Group. He is a Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner and a member of the Alabama State Court Mediator Roster.

Coonrod comes to Auburn from the Pacific Northwest, where he received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington and his juris doctorate from the University of Idaho College of Law. Seminars and workshops he has presented include Working with High Conflict People, Understanding Bullying and Mobbing, The Art and Productive Capacity of Active Listening, and Identifying Underlying Interests: Tips from Nature, History and the Cinema.

Dona Yarbrough is the Associate Ombudsperson for Auburn University students, faculty, Administrative & Professional, and staff members. Over her many years in higher education, she has been a graduate student, faculty member, student affairs administrator, complaint investigator, and leader of departments and initiatives promoting inclusivity, engagement, and belonging.

Previously the Ombuds for Students at Emory University, Yarbrough is a member of the International Ombudsman Association and the United States Ombudsman Association. She has training and experience in dispute resolution techniques and is a registered neutral with the State of Georgia.

Yarbrough was awarded her PhD in English from the University of Virginia, where she also received her initial training in teaching and facilitation and fell in love with southern college towns. The proud daughter and granddaughter of public school teachers, she believes passionately in the power of public education to positively transform people and the world.