Choosing an Adviser

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Title IX/Sexual Misconduct Advisers (Advisers)

Last updated February 2021

These FAQs are intended to provide responses to frequently asked questions related to the role of Advisers in the Title IX Sexual Harassment process and the University Sexual Misconduct process.  However, the Title IX Sexual Harassment policy and the University Sexual Misconduct policy are the best sources of information regarding the process; see section X(6) of the Title IX Sexual Harassment policy and section IX(6) of the University Sexual Misconduct policy for specific information related to Advisers. 

1. What is the role of the Title IX/Sexual Misconduct Adviser prior to the hearing?

Advisers provide assistance and guidance to complainants and respondents during an investigation under the Title IX Sexual Harassment policy or the University Sexual Misconduct policy.  Advisers may be copied on correspondence between the Office of Gender Equity and Title IX Administration and the complainant or respondent; however, Advisers may not act as proxies for/on behalf of the parties (that is, parties are expected to correspond directly with the Office of Gender Equity and Title IX Administration, rather than their Advisers doing so).  In addition, Advisers may attend any meeting, interview, or hearing connected with the grievance process; however, Advisers may not actively participate in meetings or interviews – e.g., Advisers may not answer questions posed to a party during an interview. 

2. What is the role of the Adviser at the Hearing?

The Adviser may attend the hearing; participate in conducting cross-examination of witnesses and parties as permitted under our policies; and, at the discretion of the Presiding Hearing Panelist, provide concluding remarks/oral summation not to exceed ten minutes per Adviser.  Otherwise, the Adviser may not actively participate in the hearing.  For more information regarding cross-examination under the Title IX Sexual Harassment policy and the University Sexual Misconduct policy, see the Hearing FAQs.

3. Who can have an Adviser?

Parties (the complainant and the respondent) who are involved in investigations, hearing, and appeals under the Title IX Sexual Harassment policy and the University Sexual Misconduct policy may each have an Adviser.  Witnesses are not entitled to have Advisers.

4. Who can serve as an Adviser?

Parties may select Advisers of their choosing.  This may include members of the University community as well as external individuals, including attorneys.

5. Does the University assign Advisers to complainants and respondents?

No.  Parties are responsible for identifying and choosing their Advisers for themselves, as well as reaching out to that Adviser regarding their availability to serve as an Adviser.

6. Can a party select an attorney to serve as an Adviser?

Yes.

7. If a party selects an attorney to serve as their Adviser, will the University provide financial assistance to help parties afford an attorney?

Yes, the University will provide certain financial resources to assist in that engagement.  

More specifically, parties wishing to engage an attorney to serve as their Adviser have the following options:  (1) they may select an Adviser from the pool assembled by the University and made available to the University community (which is referred to as the “University External Adviser Program") (additional information about the advisers who are part of this pool is available here); or (2) they may select and engage an Adviser on their own.  In both cases, the University will provide the same amount of funding directly to the attorney.  All Advisers who receive such funding must be admitted to practice law in the United States, in good standing in each jurisdiction (state or District of Columbia) in which the Adviser is licensed to practice, and prepared to provide documentation showing proof of admission and good standing upon request by the University.  

Please be advised that if a party chooses an Adviser who does not meet these qualifications, or chooses an Adviser who is not an attorney, they above-described funding will not be provided.

It is important to note that the party – and not the University – is responsible for selecting and working with an Adviser; the University does not and will not direct the Adviser’s work.  In all cases, it is the party’s responsibility to contact the Adviser, arrange a consultation with them, and notify the Office of Gender Equity and Title IX Administration of their selection.

8. If I choose to engage an Adviser under the University External Adviser Program, how do I go about choosing my adviser?

Upon being notified that a matter will be proceeding to the formal grievance process under the Title IX Sexual Harassment process or the University Sexual Misconduct process, you will be provided with detailed information regarding the University External Adviser Program, including contact information for all of the participating Advisers.  

The Advisers in the University External Adviser Program have received training on applicable University policies and procedures, and they are attorneys in good standing.  We strongly recommend that you schedule a brief consultation with several of the participating Advisers in order to find the best match for you.  During the consultation, you should feel free to ask questions and you should choose an attorney with whom you feel comfortable and have a good rapport.

9. Can I change Advisers midway through the grievance process?

You may choose to change Advisers at any time.  However, the amount of funding the University will provide remains the same whether you choose to work with an Adviser through the External Adviser Program, choose an Adviser on your own, or change Advisers over the course of the grievance process. In addition, if you initially select an Adviser through the External Adviser Program (as described in FAQ 7) and subsequently seek to switch Advisers midway through the grievance process, you may not (absent extenuating circumstances) switch to another Adviser in the University External Adviser Program; rather, you will need to select a new Adviser on your own.

10. What if a party chooses not to have an Adviser?

Although it is strongly recommended that parties have Advisers, parties are not required to do so, other than with respect to the following exception:  in cases under the Title IX Sexual Harassment policy, if a party does not have an Adviser present at the hearing to conduct cross-examinations of parties and witnesses, the University will provide without fee or charge to that party an Adviser selected by the University to conduct such cross-examinations. 

11. What are the University’s expectations for Advisers?

Any individual who serves as an Adviser is expected to make themselves available for meetings and interviews throughout the investigation process, as well as the hearing, as scheduled by the University.  Advisers are expected to behave respectfully and appropriately and to abide by University policy. 

In addition, Advisers are expected to provide the following assistance to parties:  assist in preparing for interviews; assist in review of the case file, Investigative Report, and other relevant documents; assist in drafting any written submission; assist in preparing for pre-hearing meeting and hearing, including preparing proposed cross examination questions and witness lists; conduct cross-examination (as appropriate) at the hearing; and assist with appeal process, if applicable.

12. Can an attorney serve as an Adviser in the informal resolution process?

No.  However, complainants and respondents may be accompanied to any meeting related to the informal resolution process by a support person, who must be a member of the University community (e.g., a current student, faculty, or staff member).  Certain administrators, including residential college staff and Graduate School administrators, receive training related to providing support during the informal resolution process.  For a list of administrators who have received such training, as well as additional information regarding the informal resolution process, see the Informal Resolution Process FAQs.