Former Associate General Counsel for the City University of New York Joan C. Waters has been hired as Columbia’s new ombuds officer and will start in her new position at the end of the month, University President Lee Bollinger announced Tuesday in an email.
Waters, who Bollinger described as “an experienced mediator,” will fill the role formerly occupied by Marsha Wagner, Columbia’s first ombuds officer who retired last October.
In addition to CUNY, Waters has also worked for the Westchester County Attorney’s Office and various private clients.
“Her personal qualities make her a worthy successor to Columbia’s highly regarded founding Ombuds Officer, Marsha Wagner,” Bollinger said in the email.
The position has been advertised on the Columbia website since March 2013. After Wagner retired in October, the Ombuds Office remained open despite the lack of an appointed officer.
The Ombuds Office, which opened in 1991 under Wagner, serves as a conflict-resolution office. According to Bollinger’s email, the office sees an average of 600 Columbians per year. The Columbia College Bulletin also lists the Ombuds Office as a resource in the case of sexual or gender-based misconduct.
When Wagner retired in October, Bollinger said that Wagner was “a leader in developing Columbia’s policy against sexual harassment and successfully advocated for extending employee benefits to same-sex partners.”