Frequently Asked Questions

What are my rights as an AU student?

The rights of an Athabasca University student are outlined in the online Student Handbook

What is the appeal process at Athabasca University?

The appeal process varies depending on the nature of the appeal, eg. marks, policy, etc. For further details, see AskAU and search using the key word “Appeal”.

How is an ombudsperson different from a lawyer?*

  • An ombudsperson is an impartial party, not an advocate.
  • Typically an ombudsperson works with institutional policies and procedures, rather than the law.
  • There is no fee for using the services of an ombudsperson in a college or university.
  • While some ombudspersons may have legal training, this is not a requirement of the job, and even the ombudsperson with legal training refrains from acting as a lawyer and giving legal advice when acting as an ombudsperson.

Is an ombudsperson the same as a mediator?*

No. Some ombudspersons have qualified as mediators through training programs, and mediation may be an approach to problem solving adopted by the individual practitioner in some cases. But while a mediator typically remains neutral throughout the mediation process in order to facilitate agreement between the parties, an ombudsperson is impartial at the outset but may come to a conclusion on the merits of a case following an investigation.

* Courtesy of University of Western Ontario Ombuds Office FAQ.