Meet the Ombuds Staff

Brett Harris, university ombudsperson, recently joined the University of Oregon after serving as the ombudsperson at the University of Mississippi. Brett holds a B.A. in American Studies from Idaho State University and a J.D. from the University of Idaho College of Law with a degree emphasis in Native American Law. She completed basic and advanced mediation training through the Northwest Institute for Dispute Resolution and was a court-approved mediator in Idaho. Prior to establishing the ombuds office and serving as ombuds at Ole Miss, Brett served for over two and a half years as a mediation program coordinator for Idaho’s Seventh Judicial Courts, practiced law, and provided mediation and ombuds services in private practice.

Becky Couch, Ombuds Program Administrator, has been at the UO since 1997 and has worked extensively providing administrative services at senior levels, including working previously in the Office of the President and the Office of Government and Community Relations.  Becky earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees at the UO.  In addition to her work at the university, she served for six years on the Lane County Human Rights Advisory Committee.  She manages the Ombuds office intake processes, calendar, administrative and trends tracking systems, and appointment triage.

Elizabeth Merchant, ombuds assistant and graduate intern, holds a B.A. in Ethnic Studies from the University of Oregon and is in progress on a M.S. in Conflict & Dispute Resolution. Elizabeth is a trained mediator with certifications in restorative justice, facilitation, negotiation, and young-adult diversion programs. Her professional interests include organizational leadership, risk prevention, and improving workplace environments.

Kyle Hughes, ombuds assistant and graduate intern, holds a B.A. in Political Science from Florida Gulf Coast University and is working toward his M.S. in UO's Conflict & Dispute Resolution Program.  Kyle is trained in mediation, facilitation, and negotiation.  He also has experience assisting the management of congressional campaigns in various states.  At present, his progressional interests are focused on alternative dispute resolution within organizations, specifically around resolving the issues of individuals at interpersonal and organizational levels.