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Use of Advisor

Per the College’s Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy (“Policy“), all students may be accompanied to any meeting or hearing by an advisor of their choice. An Advisor may be a friend, family member, lawyer or other individual of the party’s choosing. Additionally, there are professional faculty and staff members from the College who have received specific training on this Policy, processes, and the rights afforded to parties. The College has compiled a list of its trained Advisors that parties may choose to utilize, which can be accessed below: 

College Trained Advisors

For more information on Advisors please see the FAQ section below.

 

Here are some questions you may have about Advisors:


What is an Advisor and what role do they play?

Each party is permitted to have a support person of their choosing (such as a friend, parent, mentor, advocate, attorney, etc.), otherwise known as an “Advisor”, during any meeting/proceeding throughout the resolution process. They may also choose as an Advisor one of the College’s trained Title IX & Student Conduct Advisors. Advisors can be present throughout any meetings, investigation preparations, hearing proceedings, and/or any appeal process to provide support and/or assistance to an individual throughout the resolution process. It is the responsibility of the party, not the College, to make sure their Advisor is present at meetings and any hearing.

Role of Advisor

Except where explicitly stated by College Policy, as consistent with the Title IX Final Rule, Advisors of choice shall not participate directly in any process or represent any person involved; nor can an Advisor speak, write, or otherwise communicate with an Investigator, conduct administrator, Hearing Administrator, or appeal officer on behalf of the individual they are advising as per standard policy and practice of TCNJ. If an Advisor is also an attorney, the Advisor is still limited to the supportive and non-participatory role.

During meetings and proceedings — Generally the Advisor is limited to talking quietly with the party or passing/writing notes to them in a non-disruptive manner. If the Advisor believes a break may be beneficial to consult with their advisee, they (or the party themselves) may request a reasonable number of breaks. 

During a formal administrative hearing — Similarly, a party may request to consult with their Advisor at any point in the hearing in a non-disruptive manner, however, the Advisor may not represent or otherwise speak for the party they are supporting except during the cross-examination portion of hearing. Once the Hearing Administrator has concluded asking all relevant questions, each party’s Advisor is permitted to conduct cross-examination by asking the other party and any witnesses any relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility, subject to the Hearing Administrator’s control and rules regarding relevance. Such questioning must be conducted directly, orally, and in real time by the party’s Advisor and never by a Reporter or Respondent personally. Advisors may not engage in behavior or advocacy that harasses, abuses, or intimidates either the Reporting or Responding party, a witness, or individuals involved in resolving the complaint. All parties and their Advisors shall be subject to the College’s Rules of Decorum, and may be removed from a hearing upon violation of those Rules (see Appendix C of the Policy).

Although parties are strongly encouraged to be accompanied by an Advisor (who can, but is not required to be an attorney) for all meetings, should they proceed without an Advisor, and should this matter proceed to a formal administrative hearing under the Policy, then an Advisor designated by the College will be provided to the party, at no cost or fee to them, for purposes of conducting cross-examination during the hearing. This is required by federal regulations.

NOTE — This is merely a general overview and the role of the Advisor and the ways in which they can offer tangible support throughout a resolution process extends beyond what has been detailed here. In order to provide accurate information, appropriate assistance, and support, it is recommended that Advisors to a party understand the College’s resolution process and their role within that process. Advisors are encouraged to speak with the Title IX Coordinator and/or Investigator about the College resolution process and review applicable College policies and procedures governing such proceedings.


Can an Advisor request for a meeting/proceeding to be postponed?

The College’s obligations to investigate and adjudicate in a prompt timeframe under Title IX and other matters governed under the Policy, and the College cannot agree to extensive delays solely to accommodate the schedule of an Advisor of choice. Where a delay for good cause may be warranted, the party may submit a written request for postponement to the lead Investigator on the case. The determination of what is reasonable shall be made by the Title IX Coordinator or designee. The College will not be obligated to delay a meeting or hearing under this process more than five (5) days due to the unavailability of an Advisor of choice, and may offer the party the opportunity to obtain a different Advisor or utilize one provided by the College. As such, it is the responsibility of the individual party to coordinate scheduling with their Advisor for any meetings and/or proceedings


How can an Advisor be most helpful to a party?

Advisors may offer invaluable support to the party and provide advice about how to best navigate the resolution process. Some other ways to describe an Advisor would be:

  • a form of support
  • an “expert”
  • a sounding board
  • a reviewer
  • a active, nonjudgmental listener
  • a “devil’s advocate”
  • an educator

A helpful rule of thumb is that Advisors should avoid attempting to be a “go-between” for the party and the College, a negotiator, an investigator or decision-maker, or assuming the role/function of a prosecutor or defense attorney (even if they are one professionally). In order to provide accurate information, appropriate assistance, and support, it is recommended that Advisors to a party understand the College’s resolution process and their role within that process. Advisors are encouraged to speak with the Title IX Coordinator and/or Investigator about the College resolution process and review applicable College policies and procedures governing such proceedings.

Additionally, Advisors can offer the most support the more they know about the situation/process. As such, it’s encouraged that the party share with their Advisor pertinent information about the incident/case to the extent that the party feels comfortable so the Advisor can offer guidance that’s tailored to the party’s individual needs. For example, it may be challenging for an Advisor to help a party craft an appeal if they do not know what was included in the investigation report or in the decision rationale.


Are parties required to utilize an Advisor?

Yes and no. The College always recommends the use of an Advisor as these cases can be challenging and having a solid support system to turn to is important. But, parties can ultimately choose whether they’d like to have an Advisor present and/or assist them throughout the process – with the exception of the hearing, where having an Advisor present is required.

Although parties are strongly encouraged to be accompanied by an Advisor (who can, but is not required to be an attorney) for all meetings, should they proceed without an Advisor, and should this matter proceed to a formal administrative hearing under the Policy, then an Advisor designated by the College will be provided to the party, at no cost or fee to them, for purposes of conducting cross-examination during the hearing. This is required by federal regulations.


Can an attorney serve as an Advisor to a party?

Yes. Although neither the Reporter or Respondent is required to select an attorney to serve in the role as an advisor, each is permitted to do so. However, the role of the advisor is limited. See What is the role of an advisor? question above and the Policy for additional details.

Parties choosing to utilize an attorney as an Advisor should inform the Title IX & Sexual Misconduct Investigator so that the College can make necessary arrangements in preparation for upcoming meetings/proceedings.

Note: Should a party utilize an attorney as an Advisor and they wish to speak to the College, the attorney can contact the College’s Deputy General Counsel, Michael Canavan, Esq. at canavanm@tcnj.edu.


 

 

Downloadable Resources:

Advisor Designation Form 

To be filled out by the student and submitted to the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct upon choosing an Advisor.

Download

 

 

 

 

 

For any questions or concerns, please contact the Title IX Coordinator, Chelsea Jacoby, directly at jacobyc@tcnj.edu or (609) 771-3112.

ATTENTION: Due to COVID-19 our staff are working remotely. We are still continuously monitoring incoming reports, processing cases as usual, and providing our services to the community. For questions and concerns, be sure toContact Us
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