Petition to Reinstate Paul Caffera as Ombuds for the University of Mississippi

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!

Since February of 2017, Paul J. Caffera has served the University of Mississippi community as the University Ombuds. Mr. Caffera has served the University in an exemplary manner for nearly four years, demonstrating independence, confidentiality, and neutrality and has been a force for helping the University of Mississippi live its Creed. He has gone above and beyond the call of duty by tirelessly responding at all hours of the day, on weekends, and on holidays in order to meet the needs of the University of Mississippi community.

We, the undersigned, are gravely concerned about the unwarranted sidelining of Mr. Caffera and the interim appointment of William W. Berry III, Montague Professor of Law in the University of Mississippi School of Law, to serve as Acting University Ombudsman, especially without relinquishing his role as a faculty member and because his past and current position as a member of a disciplinary panel.

We call upon the Chancellor of the University of Mississippi, Glenn Boyce to:

• immediately reinstate Mr. Caffera as University Ombuds

• place Mr. Caffera on a 4-year renewable contract

• accord Mr. Caffera the equivalent status of vice chancellor and increase his salary accordingly

• ensure there are consequences for any UM employee who has violated the retaliation policy stated in the existing ombuds charter or does so in the future

• Publicly issue a statement in support of Mr. Caffera and renouncing the adverse actions heretofore taken against Mr. Caffera

• commit to the independence and confidentiality of the Ombuds Office and Mr. Caffera, including the discontinuance of UM’s surveillance of the Ombuds Office’s and Mr. Caffera’s phone logs and email.

On November 19, 2020, Mr. Caffera, filed a Complaint in the Chancery Court of Lafayette County, Mississippi, for the purpose of protecting the confidentiality and independence of the Ombuds Office, and in particular to protect the anonymity of University employees and graduate students who have sought his assistance as Ombuds. The Charter Agreement expressly prohibits Mr. Caffera from disclosing the identity of persons using the Office of Ombuds, as well as any information they provide, except to prevent imminent harm. Further, the Charter Agreement prohibits the Ombuds from testifying or providing records in any “dispute resolution process, grievance process, or investigation” by the University. The actions taken against Mr. Caffera have every appearance of retaliation and violate the very purpose of an Ombuds office.

We urgently call upon Chancellor Glenn Boyce to reinstate Mr. Caffera as University Ombuds and act to protect Mr. Caffera and the Ombuds Office from all improper and retaliatory actions, for the good of the University community.