Facing difficult challenges together

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dear Members of the Appalachian Community:

The Appalachian community has been shaken that one of our own, student Anna M. Smith, is missing and possibly in danger. We are focusing our thoughts on Anna and her family, and working toward her safe return. Anna’s description and the most current information about the search can be found at http://appstate.edu/missing-student.

Earlier today, in a separate incident, the campus was alerted about a sexual assault that occurred on our campus on August 29, 2014. I want to send a loud and clear message that those who are not willing to live by a code of mutual consent, respect and concern must hear the message they are not welcome in the community of Mountaineers. University Police, in coordination with local law enforcement, are actively pursuing all leads related to apprehending this suspect.

Appalachian is a campus we love very much, and it is so difficult when we must face challenges like these, but we are also a strong and caring community, and we can and will take care of one another. Even as we manage the complex emotions associated with the events that have taken place over the last week, we will remain strong and united in our resolve to manage these crises effectively and with the well-being of our entire Appalachian Community in mind.

Specific actions we are taking include:

  • University Police will continue their patrols with a heightened sense of awareness, and ask that you report any suspicious activity.
  • University Housing has established meetings on each floor of every residence hall tonight at 9:00 p.m. Resident Assistants, who are trained and available to support our students in times of need, will speak to students about their concerns and how we can all support each other through this challenging time.
  • Student Development continues to work with and support the students and families affected by these two separate, tragic incidents.
  • University Communications will provide daily updates for the foreseeable future to keep our students, faculty, staff, and their families informed about any progress regarding these two incidents, which have had such an emotional impact on our campus.
  • A separate email from the University Counseling and Psychological Services Center will provide support and resources.
  • University Police continue to ask anyone with information that could assist in the search for Anna to report it to 828-262-2150.

We are a strong and caring community, and caring begets strength. As we continue the important work that makes Appalachian the place we choose to attend and work for every day, we will face this difficult time together.


/s/ Sheri N. Everts

Sheri N. Everts