What is an Ombudsperson?

What is an Ombudsperson?

A person sits against a tree as they read a book on Santa Fe College' Northwest Campus

January 9, 2023 – Dr. Bea Awoniyi is Santa Fe College’s Ombudsperson. If you’re new to college life, then you might not know what an Ombudsperson, or Ombuds, is.

“The Ombuds at Santa Fe College advocates for equitable process,” Dr. Bea explained. “The office offers a safe and confidential environment for students to discuss concerns, problems and/or complaints. The Ombuds is important to ensure that students understand the rules and they have an advocate to express what may not be working for them.”

The Ombuds does more than hear complaints. They also champion causes that improve the student experience. For example, the office lobbied the college to ensure laptops were accessible to disenfranchised students at the start of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The laptop loan program has remained after the emergency passed, becoming a significant aspect of Santa Fe College’s support system.

Understanding the financial struggles students face during emergencies, the Ombuds also recommended the initiation of the Life Happens Emergency Aid Grant by Student Affairs.

“It is our way of wrapping our arms around our students to make them feel they are okay,” Dr. Bea said, “that things will work out just fine.”

Giving struggling students peace of mind is paramount. Students do not have to repay the Life Happens Emergency Aid grant. This can make a huge difference in someone’s academic career and life.

“We had a student who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as an adult and needed to get insulin,” Dr. Bea said. “The student had no insurance, and the insulin was a life support for this very special and specific situation. It was right in the middle of the semester so the student did not have a choice to stop attending because of the situation. The Life Happens Grant provided one month supply of insulin for the student.”

If you are a Santa Fe College student and are facing any challenges, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Ombudsperson. You can contact Dr. Bea Awoniyi by email at or phone at 352-395-5513.