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"Why did you talk to the Ombudsman?"


Berta Batista, P.PORTO Student Ombudsman, made clear her intention to continue to uphold the fair values and legitimate rights of students

This is the third time that Berta Batista has taken office as Student Ombudsman. The name is proposed (very consensually, it should be noted) by the Student Associations and the General Council approves and swears the position.

The inauguration ceremony took place on October 2, 2019, presided by José Marques dos Santos, President of the General Council, with the presence of João Rocha, President of the Polytechnic of Porto, student associations, presidential team and presidents of P.PORTO Schools.

"Hegemonically chosen by the students." This is how Manuela de Melo, then President of the General Council of P.PORTO, introduced Berta Batista in her first inauguration. It was 2015, the time was for challenges “and I always liked challenges” - she said with the usual clarity of expression and willingness that everyone recognizes.

"Today is the time to evaluate the previous mandates" - express - "it was four years in which the necessary internal work was done, made of complicities and compromises, guaranteeing the visibility of the Ombudsman's role" and, inevitably, a moment to contemplate the future of the function, publicize procedures and evaluations, and formalize networks at national level. "May this next mandate be carried out under the sign of transparency," proposes.

In 1996 Berta Baptista joined the board at the Institute of Engineering of Porto (ISEP), in the Department of Computer Engineering. It was 2007, the time when she took over the school's academic field, that began her defense of the students. This resulted in a formal proposal (from all student associations) to become Student Ombudsman. "It was a dialogue that began troubled and ended in this recognition, understanding, and invitation."

With a two years office, the mission of the Ombudsman is to defend and promote the legitimate rights and interests of students, ensuring the legality of the performance of the services and all actors in the process of student education and its adequacy to the goals of the students, promoting institutional quality and school success.

The Ombudsman exercises its activity with full autonomy and independence, promoting dialogue between the different parties and senior management, mediating eventual conflict situations independently, impartially and confidentially.

It is to the Ombudsman that students should address their complaints regarding relations with the different entities of the institution. "There are those who understand that the Student Ombudsman should exercise his office in the same way as the Justice Ombudsman, becoming the final appeal of the students, after all resources within the school or institution have been exhausted," affirms. "Practice has shown that we can play a huge role as mediators between the parties and as proponents of better procedures and rules within our institutions."

For Berta Batista, more important than blaming a problem, or asking “why did you talk to the Ombudsman?” is being part of the solution. "This is my role!"