United States Grand Lodge has two Ombudsman. Many people don’t know much about the office or how the office can help them. This is an interview with our two current Ombudsman to help explain.
What is an ombudsman?
Most large organizations have an ombudsman, someone who is there to serve as a resource when members have questions or concerns. Here’s our job description:
The purpose of the Ombudsman is to serve as an official liaison between the general membership of O.T.O. within the United States and the various governing and administrative bodies of the U.S. Grand Lodge of O.T.O.; and to facilitate communication between members, officers, and governing and administrative bodies, especially towards the resolution of problems.
Why are there two ombudsman? (ombudspeople?) 🙂
We’re both call ombudsman. 🙂 The thinking was that it would be a good idea “to provide individuals whom both male and female members may more comfortably approach with sensitive issues.” The office isn’t split so that fraters and sorors only interact with their own gender, it’s just meant to give members options. We have separate emails and also share a main email, so that members can contact either of us, or both of us at once.
How can the ombudsman office help me?
Mainly, we are here to answer questions and make communication easier and better. Members can call on us for help when they are running into issues and aren’t sure what to do. The office was created back in 2005, and a full definition can be found in Agape VII-1, but to paraphrase, we are here:
- To receive and answer requests from members for information regarding which officer, governing body, or administrative body may be contacted to address a specific problem or need.
- To receive complaints from members regarding the job performance of local or national O.T.O. officers, or regarding problems associated with local or national O.T.O. policies, and, when other avenues of mediation are unavailable or unsatisfactory, regarding the conduct of other individual members.
- To maintain a confidential record of complaints received, actions taken, and how resolution was achieved in each case. Said record shall be accessible to the Executive, and to other governing bodies with the permission of the Executive.
- To perform triage regarding complaints received, and to act on said complaints in the most appropriate manner.
- Respond with clarifying information.
- Request additional information.
- Without commencing an intensive investigation.
- Refer the complainant to the appropriate resource
- Forward the complaint, with recommendations. Complaints may be forwarded without identifying information.
How would I utilize this service?
The ombudsman’s office is informal and outside the organizational structure – in O.T.O. that means we aren’t on the Path of Mediation, you can talk to us at any point.
Contact us about most anything – just send email to one of these addresses:
- ombudsman-f @ oto-usa.org – Shellay Maughan
- ombudsman-m @ oto-usa.org – Michael Kolson
- ombudsman @ oto-usa.org – Shared email
Is there anything else you’d like our members to know about your office?
Our records are confidential, we aren’t going to share the names of the members who talk to us unless they give permission. Also, we aren’t mediators or judges – we are here to help but aren’t going to take sides or decide on the merits of any arguments. For that, we will help identify the best way/level to engage with the path of mediation.
Meet the Ombudsman
Michael Kolson has been studying Thelema, and the Occult generally for the past 20 years and has been a member of O.T.O. since 1993. He took his Minerval in Buffalo N.Y. at Pyramid Lodge and is currently a member of Horizon Oasis, Seattle WA. In addition to being an ardent Student of our Mysteries generally, he is particularly and currently interested in the work of Crowley’s students, and has been working to publish a series of diaries from early A.’.A.’. and O.T.O. members.
Shellay Maughan is an artist and occultist, studying the Mysteries since the 1970s. She has been a member of O.T.O. since 2000, takig her Minerval at Horizon Lodge in Seattle, WA. She is a past master of Horizon, and continues to serve as priestess and initiator at Horizon and at Vortex Oasis.