California State University, Long Beach
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University Ombuds Ready To Help

Published: August 22, 2016

Following an extensive search process, CSULB has appointed Keith Freesemann as its new permanent University Ombuds, an important resource on campus who deals with a wide range of university-related issues. The appointment follows his duties as Interim Ombuds since January 2014 and opens up new opportunities to expand upon the position.

“I’m very comfortable with our university policies. I know what’s out there; when someone asks a question about a policy, I know I have the experience to help,” said Freesemann about his working knowledge of CSULB. “I’m very excited that this position was offered to me. I enjoy what I get to do here.”

Located in the Foundation Building, the Office of the University Ombuds serves as an informal, neutral, independent and confidential resource for students, faculty, alumni and even community members to express themselves on issues they may have to deal with regarding the campus. Those issues can range from grading procedures and appeals, degree/course requirements, university policies and procedures or campus community conduct such as student, administrative, staff and faculty disputes. The position requires an exceptional working knowledge of the campus policies and practices which Freesemann has gained during his 36-year tenure at CSULB.

Freesemann completed his B.S. degree at Upper Iowa University and M.S. degree at University of Northern Iowa in physical education. He earned his doctorate from USC in adult and higher education with a focus in educational leadership. In 1979, he arrived at CSULB as a lecturer to serve as program director for athletic training, where he taught and developed an education program under kinesiology, which is now a full degree program. In addition to his time in kinesiology, Freeseman worked in athletics, where he served as an assistant athletic trainer working with all the men’s and women’s teams.

The Ombuds Office lays its foundation on four ethical principles: independence, neutrality and impartiality, confidentiality and informality. Visitors can be assured that the Ombuds Office works proactively for productive interpersonal interactions and fair processes. The office also uses impartial approaches to help individuals develop options to help resolve conflicts in a fair and equitable manner for all involved.

“I like that we can talk about different options that are available to people,” Freeseman said. “That feeling knowing that members of the campus community can walk away with more solutions that they didn’t even realize they had is very satisfying.”

Keith Freesemann
Keith Freesemann

In terms of what the future holds, he says he would like to work on expanding outreach and communication programs across every college and department. CSULB has approximately 37,000 students, 2,000 faculty members and 2,000 staff on campus.

“I think our biggest obstacle is individuals not understanding or knowing what exactly the nature of the Ombuds Office is,” said Freeseman. “Not everyone knows the kinds of services we provide.”

Freesemann serves on the President’s Commission of Status of Women, Staff Council, LGBTQ+ Committee, Campus Climate Committee and attends meetings of the Academic Senate and the ASI Senate. Each group provides a unique perspective that contributes to the diversity of our campus community, according to Freeseman, who plans to add groups in the fall to help him gather additional perspectives of what kinds of problems individuals at CSULB are facing. By working with these different groups on outreach and communication, he hopes more individuals will become aware of the Ombuds Office as a resource on campus.

“It really is a great place to go that helps people find out what their options are and can really help solve a lot of issues that people may be dealing with,” he said. “I like that I’m able to help and serve the campus community.”