At the annual meeting held by the University Ombudspersons on the 26th October 2007 the articles of association of what was to become the University Ombudspersons State Conference (Conferencia Estatal de Defensores Universitarios: CEDU) were agreed on and signed.
CEDU is an association which is made up of current Ombudspersons from various Spanish Universities, and at the moment is composed of 61 Ombuds with all their other names such as guardians, mediator, guarantees court and so on. It was stated that the figure of the Ombudsperson has the role to guard the rights and freedoms of all the university community members. It was first introduced by the University Reform Law (Ley de Reforma Universitaria) in 1983 and some Universities in Madrid, Granada and León implemented this figure in their Regulations, been the University of León the first to have an Ombudsman in 1989 but was with the Organic Law of Universities (Ley Orgánica de Universidades) in 2001 when this figure became consolidated and compulsory for all public and private universities in Spain.
The Organic Law of Universities 6/2001 of 21 December an additional provision considers a University Ombudsman as:
“To ensure respect for the rights and freedoms of teachers, students and administrative staff and services to the actions of the various bodies and non-university services, the universities established in the organizational structure of the University Ombudsman Figure. Their actions, aimed at improving university quality in all its areas, shall not be subject to any imperative mandate any university authority and come under the principles of independence and autonomy. It shall be the Articles set out the procedure for election or appointment, term of office and dedication, as well as its operation.”
Thus, the Ombudsperson acts as guarantee for the rights of the entire university community and should consider request and petitions from students, teachers and administration and service staff. At present, there are Ombudsperson in 63 of the 78 Spanish Universities; 61 of them forming part of the University Ombudsmen State Conference (CEDU).