Comics Studies Society Ombuds
The Comics Studies Society Ombuds is a confidential, neutral, informal, and independent resource for concerns and conflicts related to membership in the Comics Studies Society. The current Ombuds for CSS is Andrew Kunka.
Andrew J. Kunka is Professor of English and Division Chair at the University of South Carolina Sumter. He serves as the Comics Studies Society’s Ombuds. He is the author of Autobiographical Comics from the Bloomsbury Comics Studies Series and The Life and Comics of Howard Cruse: Taking Risks in the Service of Truth from Rutgers University Press. He has also published on Will Eisner, Kyle Baker, Jack Katz, crime comics, and Dell comics, among other topics. He also serves as Book Review Editor for Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society and on the board for the International Comic Arts Forum (ICAF). He is currently co-writing The Routledge Introduction to American Comics with Rachel R. Miller.
The Comics Studies Society Ombuds is available to all members of the Comics Studies Society. The Ombuds’s role involves listening to member concerns, clarifying issues, developing options, and providing information.
The Ombuds serves as an ex officio member of the Comics Studies Society board but does not advocate on behalf of the board or any individual members of the Comics Studies Society. The Ombuds primary duty on the board is to advise on potential conflicts and make regular reports.
The Comics Studies Society Ombuds is a member in good standing of the International Ombudsman Association, a professional organization dedicated to supporting organizational ombuds worldwide. As a member of the IOA, the Ombuds operates within the association’s code of ethics and standards of practice.
- The ombuds holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so. The only exception to this privilege of confidentiality is when such a disclosure is required by law or where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.
- The ombuds, as a designated neutral, remains unaligned and impartial and does not engage in any situation that could create a conflict of interest.
- The ombuds is an informal resource who does not participate in any formal procedure related to concerns brought to the ombuds’ attention.
- The ombuds is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible within the Comics Studies Society.
What the Ombuds Does
- Discusses concerns and clarifies issues
- Offers options for resolving problems and conflicts
- Offers referrals to other services and resources
- Strategizes for difficult conversations
- Facilitates communication
- Tracks common issues and trends
- Advises the CSS board on organizational changes
What the Ombuds Doesn’t Do
- Makes decisions for a visitor
- Establishes or revises organizational policies
- Offers legal advice
- Offers psychological counseling
- Participates in formal processes
- Serves as an agent of notice for the organization
- Serves as an advocate for any individual
- Participates in formal investigations or writes case reports
- Creates or maintains records or reports for the organization except for an annual report
The CSS ombuds can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 803-938-3718. Confidential information should not be shared through email. Appointments can be made to speak with the ombuds by phone or a communication platform like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.