The University Commissioner of Human Rights is the person in charge of watching over and defending the individual rights of all members of the university community (teachers, students, graduates, administrative personnel and any person who works with and for the National University of Agriculture) before acts or omissions of the units, authorities, officials or teachers of the University that violate them.
The Commissioner is autonomous in the exercise of his functions and independent of the governing bodies of the University and is not an executive body.
The Commissioner's purpose is to advise, support and, if necessary, legally represent the university students and members of the university community in the proceedings provided for in the University Statute and its Regulations.
He/she may act as mediator or conciliator in individual conflicts that arise, in whose content it is apparent that the governing bodies, authorities or university employees have undermined the rights, duties and legitimate interests of university students or members of the university community, as long as such undermining does not constitute a violation of human rights. The University Commissioner may not hear matters of a labor nature, academic evaluations, electoral processes, disciplinary resolutions or matters that may be challenged by other means or instances established in the University Legislation, or in the laws of the country.
The work of the University Commissioner is governed by six principles: independence and autonomy; neutrality and impartiality; confidentiality; ethics; freedom; and subsidiarity and legality:
- Independence and autonomy: In the exercise of his office, the University Commissioner shall be subject to university, national and international regulations; however, his actions shall not be subject to the imperative mandate of any university body, nor may he be given instructions by any university body.
Always in compliance with the regulations and financial policies of the institution and the State, the University Commissioner enjoys relative autonomy for the administration of its personnel and budget. This principle does not exempt him/her from transparency and accountability, both in substantive and administrative matters.
- Neutrality and impartiality: The University Commissioner is not aligned with any sector of the University, nor does it replace the representativeness of the fronts, associations or the union.
The University Commissioner shall observe objectivity in the treatment of persons and matters. In the processing of complaints and denunciations, it shall hear, depending on the case in question, the representatives of the body or service in question.
- Ethics: Acting based on natural and absolute principles of respect for the universal principles and values that govern our society.
- Confidentiality: The information and data collected as a result of the processing of the matters carried out by the University Commissioner shall be confidential. The University Commissioner may keep confidential the identity of those who file complaints or denunciations, if they make an express request in that sense; or even without this request, if according to his criteria, he considers that the disclosure of names could lead to reprisals.
- Freedom: The procedure of the Office of the University Commissioner is free of unnecessary solemnities and procedural rigors; it is agile, free, flexible and non-formalistic. It has the power to act according to its values, criteria, reason and will, based on national norms and laws.
- Subsidiarity and principle of legality: The University Commissioner shall exercise his mandate in the context of the competencies of the other university bodies without substituting them. Its activity does not replace the primary and directly competent bodies, as long as they are dealing with a situation within the established terms.
The University Commissioner shall have, at least, the following modalities of intervention in individual or collective cases, or in matters of general interest:
- Receipt and processing of complaints and denunciations. It will hear complaints and denunciations when the petitioner presumes that a body, service, faculty or employee of the National University of Agriculture has violated a right or has provided a bad service.
- Attention to requests and queries: If the user has already made direct approaches previously, and his request does not involve harm to third parties, nor compromises ethical principles, the University Commissioner may attend to requests and queries on his areas of competence, in support of the right of petition of the interested parties.
- The University Commissioner cannot hear requests that imply individual exemption from compliance with a validly issued rule or deadline. Notwithstanding the foregoing, it may, based on a request or consultation, study whether a rule produces unfair situations or results. In these cases, after reaching an informed opinion, it will formulate before the governing bodies of the University the suggestions or recommendations it deems appropriate to remedy the deficiencies detected.
- Mediations: The University Commissioner, may act as mediator in individual and collective conflicts involving members or sectors of the university community, subject to the consent of the parties.
- Based on the principle of informality in the procedure and flexibility in the response, but always within the framework of the law in force, the University Commissioner will decide, on a case-by-case basis, whether the best way to address a complaint is through the search for an amicable solution between the parties.
- Inspections, appearances and observation missions: The University Commissioner, or his staff, may, ex officio or at the request of a party, constitute himself without restriction at any site on the campuses of the National University of Agriculture to ascertain the existence of violations of rights or the provision of poor service against members of the university community. Likewise, on the occasion of the investigation of complaints and denunciations presented, may conduct inspections in any unit of the National University of Agriculture and socialize all documents that are necessary for the development of its functions. Performing them with discretion and prudence, in order to safeguard the harmony of the university community.
- Likewise, he/she may attend as an observer the sessions of the University Superior Council, and of any collegiate body of the National University of Agriculture; including those inter-institutional, temporary or permanent bodies in which the University participates, whose acts or resolutions may affect a member of the university community.
- At the request of the members of a unit, organization or association of any university sector, and having obtained the consensus of the authorities and contending parties, the University Commissioner may perform observation tasks in the election processes of authorities, students and unions of the institution.
- Impact on university policies: Within its material scope of competence, the University Commissioner may identify and investigate trends, problems and concerns of general interest and may translate the result of its analysis into proposals for the adoption or change of rules, policies, procedures or practices.
- Communication, promotion and awareness of rights and good service practices: Based on the systematization of complaints submitted to it, the University Commissioner will conduct communication, promotion and awareness campaigns on respect for the rights of all members of the university community and the establishment of good service practices by the relevant units of the institution. To this end, publications may be issued and information disseminated in the most appropriate formats for the selected topic and audience.
Attorney Edgardo Colindres
UNAG Human Rights Commissioner
Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm