How can the Ombud for Students help?
The Ombud for Students is a free service provided by The Student Union at Halmstad University and is available for all students, members and non-members alike. You can turn to the Ombud with a wide range of questions concerning your rights as a student such as unfair treatment or rules and regulations regarding exams and course plans.
The Ombud is bound by professional secrecy, you as a student have the right be anonymous and the Ombud will never start a case without your consent.
When and why should I turn to the Ombud for Students?
No issue is too big or too small. You can seek help to facilitate contact with someone at the university, mediate at a meeting or take care of correspondence in sensitive cases where you as a student are either not sure of your rights or just want to remain anonymous. You can also contact the Ombud if you have complaints regarding the physical or psychosocial environment at the university. The aim of the Ombud is to make sure student rights are protected. At the bottom of the page, you can find a Q&A with the most frequently asked questions and brief answers.
Why is it important to contact the Ombud for Students?
By turning to the Ombud, you provide the Student Union with information about problems that may otherwise go unnoticed. This information can then be used as grounds for implementing changes at the university and improve the quality of education which is a part of the Student Union’s mission statement.
Problem? This is what to do:
1. Talk with the responsible lecturer (professor/teacher/tutor)
Always begin by contacting the lecturer regarding the issue. This usually solves most problems.
2. Contact the head of program or academy
If it does not work to talk with the responsible lecturer, or if the lecturer is part of the problem, contact the head of program or department.
3. Contact the Ombud
If neither of the above two steps helps, or if you feel that you want help mediating – contact the Ombud! Then you can officially address the matter together.
What is an official matter?
An official matter is when one or several students contact the Ombud to receive help. It can concern, for example, a single student, a course, a program, or every student in a specific field of study. Students might contact the Ombud about general advice, specific questions, wanting to know their rights and obligations in certain situations, or if the student has gotten into a situation that requires the aid of the Ombud. Examples of official matters are late exam results, conflicts with the tutor during essay writing, late schedules, discrimination, course plans that are not followed etc.
How will the matter be handled?
The first contact between the student and the Ombud is usually established via email or that the student visits the Student Union’s office in the glass corridor on campus.
The Ombud will assess if the matter needs official handling; if the question is not included in the Ombud’s job description e.g. “Can you help me apply to this year’s Nollning?”, the Ombud will redirect your question to the right person. There are several ways to resolve a matter, depending on the issue and who the concerned parties are. Usually, the Ombud acts as a mediating part between the student and the university.
The Ombud can inform you about your rights, explain and interpret them for you. The Ombud works full time with improving the guidelines and regulations which apply at the University together with them from the point of view that the rules apply to all students, and can therefor not criticize teachers for following the rules. The Ombud accepts and handles all forms of critique, but cases about subjective opinions on a teachers personality, is not normally passed on unless they point to a bigger problem.
When closed, all matters are documented and used as basis for the statistics that are compiled for each semester. The information documented is: date of contact, which department, which program and if it concerns a specific course, the nature of the matter and how it has been handled. All students are, as previously mentioned, anonymous and no personal information is documented.
- 1. What do I do if I feel discriminated against?According to the Discrimination Act, the University has an obligation to investigate a case where a student claims to have been subjected to discrimination based on either of the following: ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, gender, age, or harassment of sexual nature. If you should find that you are discriminated against, you can report it directly to the university via any staff you have confidence for, by writing to the principal or request the help of the Ombud for Students.
- 2. What is an examination allowed to look like?There are no national rules on how the examination should or may be constructed. It is up to the examiner (teacher who is specially appointed to determine the grade), to determine the details of the examination. However, should the assessment method/s (i.e oral exam, written exam, group work, essay) be published in the syllabus, which is a legally binding document, the examiner must follow what is in the syllabus. It should be clear to students what/which assessment method/s will be applied in the course.
- 3. How much time does the examiner have to correct an exam?Examination results shall be posted no later than three weeks after the examination date, but not later than two weeks before the re-sit. Three weeks always entails at least 15 working days (the first working day meaning the first working day after the exam). Examination results shall immediately be submitted to the Service Center. The results are thereafter published in the Student Ladok, and after three days you can pick up your exam at the Service Center.
- 4. What do I do if I am unhappy with the grade?A grade cannot be appealed according to the Higher Education Act. However, if a grading decision contains an obvious error due to a clerical error, miscalculation or a similar oversight, the decision may be corrected by the examiner to the benefit as well as to the disadvantage of the student. If a reduction to the grade would take place, the student should be given the opportunity to comment on the issue. When picking up your exam, look through it first to spot any irregularities. If there are any, make sure you make a copy and do not take the original. If you take the original, you cannot ask for alterations to the grade.
- 5. How many examinations am I entitled to?After each exam follows two re-sits. If further occasions are required, the student must be prepared to take the examination again according to a new or modified curriculum. The total number of exams must always be at least five. This applies to the number of used of examinations and not the number offered. The responsible lecturer has the right to give an extra exam if there are special reasons for it and the examiner approves. If the examiner limits the number of examinations it must be done in writing, in the syllabus and be justified for reasons of resources, but at least five occasions must be provided nonetheless.
- 6. What if a teacher changes the schedule?The schedule must be finalized no later than four weeks before the course starts. Mandatory elements (compulsory parts) must appear clearly in the schedule and be consistent with the curriculum. The mandatory elements must not be moved for the duration of the course, but the teacher has the right to move individual lectures.
- 7. What is a mandatory element/compulsory part?If there is a set requirement in the curriculum that participation in an educational element is necessary for the student to be able to pass the course, this is called a mandatory element and is a part of the examination. The mandatory element must therefore be described in the curriculum. In general, a student should be allowed to participate in the exam even though all mandatory elements are not finished, however, these must be carried out in order to acquire a final grading.
- 8. Regarding the supervision of thesisAs a student you are entitled to supervision during the writing of your thesis or graduate course, this is regulated by the availability of resources. After completing the thesis or graduate course, there are no local regulations that give students the right to further supervision, but this varies between the departments.
- 9. What do I do if I get sick during my studies?If you get sick, the university has no obligations to pause courses or let you as a student repeat the same course at a later time. However, you do get to retake the course the next time it is offered unless otherwise arranged between student and university. You should report a longer period of sickness to CSN and Försäkringskassan to maintain your study allowance/loan during the period of sickness.
- 10. Who do I contact if I have a disability?Turn first to the university’s coordinator for students with disabilities. You will find the contact details and more information via this link.