Taking Our Ombuds Skills to the Protest: An interview with D.A. Graham [Unpublished]

By Roy Baroff
NC State University, Faculty & Staff Ombuds
IOA Board of Directors

Bayard Rustin said: “When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge their dignity as a human being, their very act of protest confers dignity on them.” (with edits)

How do we bring our ombuds skills to the protest?

This is the premise of an interview/conversation between D. A. Graham (The University of Kansas, University Ombuds) and Roy Baroff (NC State University, Faculty & Staff Ombuds). You may have seen them in the Pecha Kucha program and that’s where this discussion began. The presenters were in a prep meeting and D. A. had a virtual background of a protest photo. Roy asked him about it and they decided to get together for a chat. This video is the result.

D.A. was on the streets of Baltimore after Freddie Gray’s death talking with activists and police. He recently talked with protestors and law enforcement in his own Lawrence, Kansas, during a demonstration. This conversation explores D.A.’s experience, it debriefs some aspects of his approach, and invites all who view this material to think about using your ombuds skills outside your organization.

D.A. Graham – D.A.’s experience is broad-ranging from almost 20 years service as a Navy Chaplin along with ombuds work at Princeton, San Diego State, and the University of Kansas. He also brings broad mediation and facilitation skills and experience to his work. Per his Pecha Kucha presentation, D. A. is summiting every day.

Roy Baroff – Roy trained as an ombuds in 2007 and later opened the NC State Faculty Ombuds Office in 2015 and then added Staff services in 2017. He also has over 30 years experience as a mediator, attorney and educator. He currently serves on the IOA Board of Directors when he is not busy watching the Mandalorian. What is the Ombuds Way?

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Comments on "Taking Our Ombuds Skills to the Protest: An interview with D.A. Graham"

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Reese Ramos - Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Issues can be presented as polarized; or, as peace-seekers we can find creative solutions to conflict. Outstanding work D.A. is modeling of how we can extend our practices into our communities.

Michael Green - Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Thanks Roy and D.A. for sharing this conversation. An excellent, topical, and much needed dialogue about the ombuds role during times of systematic transformation. Would make for a fantastic podcast!

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