All parties are entitled to have an advisor present during any Title IX proceedings. If the party does not have an advisor, the school will provide one at no cost.
Who may serve as an advisor
The complainant and respondent may choose anyone (including legal counsel or a union representative) to voluntarily serve as their advisor. The complainant and respondent may be accompanied to any meeting or hearing by their advisor.
The advisor may be a friend, mentor, family member, attorney, or any other individual a party chooses to advise, support, and/or consult with them throughout the resolution process. The parties may choose advisors from inside or outside of the school community. The parties can also request that the school provide an advisor to them. Any school-provided advisor will be appropriately trained and familiar with the school’s resolution process.
Parties have the right to choose not to have an advisor in the initial stages of the resolution process, prior to a hearing.
A party cannot choose an advisor who is also a witness.
The parties may be accompanied by their advisor in all meetings and interviews at which the party is entitled to be present, including intake and interviews. Advisors should help the parties prepare for each meeting and are expected to advise ethically, with integrity, and in good faith.
The advisor may support and advise; however, the advisor may not speak on behalf of the complainant or respondent or otherwise engage with the investigators, hearing officer, witnesses, or other individuals associated with the resolution process, except as required in the cross-examination of witnesses during a hearing.
The school is not obligated to provide an attorney to serve as a school-provided advisor, even when the other party’s choice of advisor is an attorney.
Advisors may request to meet with the administrative officials conducting interviews/meetings in advance of those interviews or meetings. This pre-meeting allows advisors to clarify and understand their role and the school’s policies and procedures. Both the complainant or respondent, regardless of whether they have identified or requested an advisor at this stage, may request such meetings themselves in order to clarify/understand the school’s policies and procedures.
Advisor violations of school policy
All advisors are subject to the same school policies and procedures. Advisors are expected to advise their advisees without disrupting proceedings. Advisors should not address school officials in a meeting or interview unless necessary, such as asking a procedural question. The advisor may not make a presentation or represent their advisee during any meeting or proceeding and may not speak on behalf of the advisee to the investigators or hearing officer except during a hearing proceeding, during cross-examination.
The parties are expected to ask and respond to questions throughout the investigation phase of the resolution process. Although the advisor generally may not speak on behalf of their advisee, the advisor may consult with their advisee, either privately as needed, or by conferring or passing notes during any resolution process meeting or interview. For lengthier or more involved discussions, the parties and their advisors may ask for breaks to allow for a private consultation.
Any advisor who disregards their role as defined by the policy and associated procedures will be warned only once. If the advisor continues to disrupt or otherwise fails to respect the limits of the advisor’s role, the meeting will be ended, or other appropriate measures implemented. Subsequently, the Title IX Coordinator will determine how to address the advisor’s non-compliance and future role. This disruption could also cause an unexpected delay in the resolution process.
Sharing information with the advisor
The school expects that the parties may wish to have the school share documentation and evidence related to the allegations with their advisors. Doing so may help the parties participate more meaningfully in the resolution process.
The school will provide a consent form that the party will complete to authorize the school to share such information directly with their Advisor. The parties must either complete and submit this form to the Title IX Coordinator or provide similar documentation demonstrating consent to a release of information to the advisor before the school is able to share records with an advisor.
Privacy of records shared with advisor
Advisors are expected to maintain the privacy of the records shared with them. These records may not be shared with third parties, disclosed publicly, or used for purposes not explicitly authorized by the school. The school may seek to restrict the role of any advisor who does not respect the sensitive nature of the process or who fails to abide by the school’s privacy expectations.
Expectations of an advisor
The school generally expects an advisor to adjust their schedule to attend scheduled meetings related to the matter. Still, the school may change scheduled meetings to accommodate an advisor’s schedule if doing so does not cause an unreasonable delay.
The school may also make reasonable provisions to allow an advisor to attend a meeting by telephone, video conference, or other convenient and available technologies.
Expectations of the parties with respect to advisors
A party may elect to change advisors and is not obligated to use the same advisor throughout the process. The parties are expected to inform the Investigators of the identity of their advisor at least two days before the date of their first meeting with investigators. When feasible, the investigator may also accept a request from either party for a more expeditious meeting, if necessary or desired.
If a party changes advisors, consent to share information with the previous advisor is terminated, and a release for the new advisor must be completed and submitted with the notice of the change.
For parties who are entitled to union representation, the school will allow the unionized employee to have their union representative (if requested by the party) and an advisor of their choice present for all resolution-related meetings and interviews. Witnesses are not permitted to have union representation or other advisors in resolution process interviews or meetings.