The following information is provided to clarify the role of an advisor in the Title IX investigation and hearing process.
An Investigation is a University Administrative Process
An investigation is part of the administrative process the University uses to determine whether University policy has been violated. The investigation is not a legal proceeding, and as a result, a Title IX investigation does not determine guilt or innocence relative to any local, state, or federal law.
Role of an Advisor during the Investigation Process
Individuals bringing forward allegations (the complainant) and individuals responding to allegations (the respondent) who participate in the Title IX formal complaint process, have the right to have one individual of their choosing serve as their advisor throughout the investigation and hearing process. The right to an advisor is extended so that the complainant or respondent can identify someone that they want to assist them with navigating and understanding the investigation process, and provide support during each portion of the investigation process, including pre-hearing meetings and interviews. The complainant or respondent may choose anyone to be their advisor, including an attorney.
To fulfill their investigation responsibilities and to protect the integrity of the investigation for both the complainant and respondent, the Investigator is interested in obtaining information directly from the complainant and respondent and providing each with the opportunity to respond to information directly, without impediment or undue interference. As such, an advisor is not allowed to speak or otherwise actively participate during the pre-hearing meetings or interviews although they may ask procedural questions of the Investigator and seek clarification regarding the investigation process.
The complainant or respondent may request to confer privately with their advisor during pre‑hearing meetings and interviews. advisors may also seek clarification regarding the investigation process and ask procedural or process questions. Advisors may also alert the Title IX Investigator or Coordinator to acts of retaliation.
Role of an Advisor During the Hearing Process
Both the complainant and respondent may be accompanied by an advisor during the hearing. The advisor’s role at the hearing shall consist of (1) providing private advice to the party he/she is supporting and (2) questioning the opposing party and other witnesses. The advisor can be anyone, including an attorney. A party may arrange for the party’s advisor of choice to attend the hearing at the party’s own expense. Alternatively, the University will select and provide an advisor to assist a party at the hearing to determine responsibility, without fee or charge, upon request. In either scenario, the advisor may only participate in the hearing to the extent allowed under the Title IX policy.
The University’s communication protocol with the complainant or respondent does not permit going through a representative or other intermediary because of the importance of direct communication with the complainant or respondent during the investigation process as described above. An advisor may be copied on any correspondence or communication related to the investigation process at the direction of the complainant or respondent.
An Effective Advisor
Providing accurate information, appropriate assistance and support is an essential role of the advisor and the University recommends that advisors understand the investigation process and their respective role within the process. As such advisors may contact the Title IX Coordinator or Investigator with questions regarding the investigation and hearing process to ensure an understanding of their role. The Title IX Coordinator or Investigator will provide copies of applicable policies and procedures to the advisor upon request.
Students who participate in the investigation process with an advisor must complete a Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) waiver prior to participating in the interview process with an Advisor.
Questions and Clarification
If you have any questions or would like additional clarification regarding the investigation process, please contact the Title IX Coordinator at (479) 575-7111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
In Summary, an Advisor may:
- Assist a complainant or respondent in understanding and navigating the investigation process
- Accompany a complainant or respondent to any administrative meeting or conversation related to an investigation including interviews and pre-hearing meetings
- Seek clarification regarding the investigation process
- Ask procedural or process questions
- Provide support to the complainant or respondent throughout the process
- Alert the Title IX Investigator or Coordinator to acts of retaliation
- Attend the decision hearing
- Ask questions of the other party or witnesses on behalf of the complainant or respondent
- Confer privately with the complainant or respondent upon request
An Advisor May not:
- Speak or act on behalf of a complainant or respondent, including answering questions for or on behalf of a complainant or respondent
- Stand in for, or represent a complainant or respondent
- Distribute information shared or learned throughout the investigation process with anyone other than the complainant or respondent for whom they serve as an advisor, the Title IX Investigator or Coordinator
- Act as or represent themselves or another as an investigator for the Title IX process during the investigation
- Contact a witness or other party participating in the investigation process,
- Impede the investigation process or act in a manner that obstructs the investigator or disrupts the investigation process
Note: Advisors who act outside of their role or who impede, obstruct, disseminate information to third party individuals or organizations or who represent themselves to others who are engaged in our process as having any other role than an advisor in our process may be excluded from investigation proceedings.