Meet the Ombudspersons

Furthering its commitment to creating a positive learning environment, the University of Georgia recently named three ombudspersons to serve faculty, staff and students.

The ombudspersons are designated individuals who serve as independent, neutral and informal resources for UGA students, faculty and staff. Rather than serving as advocates for individual members of the university community, these individuals are advocates for fairness, and they function as a source of information and referral. They assist, to the extent possible, in informally resolving concerns brought to their attention. They serve as third-party fact finders who remain neutral while looking into complaints or grievances, including those related to discrimination and harassment.

Student Ombudsperson


Karen Saunders

Karen Saunders

Karen Saunders is an Administrative Specialists with Student Support Services in the Office of the Dean of Students. She will serve as the ombudsperson for students. Karen spent 17 years with Delta Air Lines before coming to UGA in 2010. She started with the business office at the University Health Center before joining Student Support Services. In her current position, she assists students who are experiencing hardships. She educates them so they can make informed decisions about their options. Part of her work also includes informing students about different resources on campus that may be able to support the students moving forward. Karen earned a degree in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas. She is trained as a Safe Space Ally, and has her Diversity and Inclusion Certificate. She was honored with the 2012 Lee Anne Seawell Award for Service to Students from the Division of Student Affairs.

Telephone: 706-542-7774 ; Email: ksaunders@uga.edu


Cathy Jones

Cathy Jones

Cathy Jones, a professor of French and Provençal at the University of Georgia, will serve as the ombudsperson for faculty. Jones, a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor and graduate coordinator for the department of romance languages in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, joined the UGA romance languagesdepartment in 1987 and has served as graduate coordinator since 2008. Her research interests include French medieval epic, romance and allegory. She is the author of "The Noble Merchant: Problems of Genre and Lineage in Hervis de Mes" and "Philippe de Vigneulles and the Art of Prose Translation." Her other publications include articles on the chanson de geste, René d'Anjou, Richars li biaus, 19th and 20th century medievalism and orientalism. Her other awards include the Lothar Tresp Outstanding Honors Professor Award, the General Sandy Beaver Teaching Professorship, the Richard B. Russell Teaching Award and a Lilly Teaching Fellowship.

Telephone: 706-542-3159 ; Email: cmjones@uga.edu


Steve Gibson

Steve Gibson

Steve Gibson serves as the ombudsperson for staff employees. He has more than 25 years of professional experience and is a business affairs manager for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He joined UGA in 2007 and his work now involves a variety of administrative duties including project supervision, personnel management and budget analysis. He served as vice chair for the university’s Staff Council as well as the chair of the University Council’s Human Resources Committee and is one of the inaugural recipients of the university’s Diversity and Inclusion Certificate. He is trained as a Safe Space Ally and as a higher education mediator by the internationally recognized Georgia Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. He received degrees from Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia and is actively involved in a number of university and community organizations.

Telephone: 706-542-1147; Email: sgibson@uga.edu

Ombudspersons supplement, but do not replace, the university's existing policies and procedures for processing and resolving student, faculty, and staff complaints and grievances. Ombudspersons also do not have direct responsibility for specific administrative processes and procedures. Rather, these individuals provide information and assistance regarding administrative processes and may serve as additional avenues for resolving the concerns of students, faculty and staff.