Frequently Asked Questions

Will my professor, colleague, or supervisor know that I’ve contacted you?

We will not tell anyone that you've contacted the Office. Others will learn that you've contacted us only if you tell them or if you specifically direct us to contact a person you want us to work with to address your concern. If you decide to contact the Office, appointments are strongly encouraged. Our goal is to do everything that we can to insure both anonymity and confidentiality.

How does this Office differ from other offices on campus that address community member’s concerns?

Our focus is on developing strategies that you might use before considering more formal administrative procedures . Working with us is completely “off the record,” which often makes talking about problems or concerns significantly less intimidating. 

What happens if I decide to consult the Office?

We listen to your concerns and work with you to identify strategies to address those concerns. We can also, at your request, serve as a neutral, third party in resolving issues.

How do you insure Confidentiality and Anonymity?

Our work with you is strictly off the record unless you specifically ask us to contact persons for additional assistance. We do, however, provide periodic reports to the University administration about problematic trends on campus that warrant further study. In these circumstances, only a statistical representation of the issues is reported. The Ombuds Office holds the identity and all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so, except as required by law or where, in the judgment of the Ombuds, there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.

Will you serve as my advocate? 

No. The Office advocates for “due process” rather than individuals or groups in accordance with professional ethics and standards of practice prescribed by The International Ombudsman Association. A benefit of this approach is that we might discover, or help you discover, a useful alternative perspective that might otherwise have been missed. In some circumstances, if you request it, and the other party agrees, and the Office considers it to be appropriate, we can take part, as a third party, in conversations to insure that the interchange is as effective as possible and will facilitate a mutually acceptable solution.

Do I put Appalachian State University “on legal notice” by consulting the Office?

No; consulting with us does not constitute “legal notice.”

Is there a permanent record of our discussions? 

Because confidentiality is an essential dimension of our work, when our interaction with a client is concluded, the record of the interaction is destroyed. As noted above, only a statistical accounting of the nature of the issue is maintained.