Advisors and the Role of Advisors

I would like to select an advisor to assist me during the student conduct process. What does this mean?

Being an advisor means that an individual is tasked with helping a participant prepare for student conduct meetings or conferences, accompanying the party in any conduct proceedings, advising the participant in the sharing of information, and assisting during the appeals process.

This is an important role because resolving a complaint through the student conduct process can be a challenging experience and for that reason the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards encourages both parties to seek the assistance of an advisor to support and accompany them through the process.

We strongly encourage individuals not to choose as advisors individuals from Complainant or Respondent support services in the Dean of Students.

Students can find free legal assistance at Student Survivor Legal Services (for complainants) or at the Office of Student Advocacy (advises mainly respondents). However, an individual can also choose to hire independent legal counsel to serve as an advisor. In that event, the individual is solely responsible for any fees related to the representation.

What is the advisor’s role in the student conduct process?

As someone who helps the Complainant or Respondent navigate the student conduct process, the advisor is a silent participant during all official meetings. This means that the advisor may provide advice outside of these meetings but may not advocate on behalf of, speak on behalf of or instead of the individual they are assisting, or act in opposition to university policy during the course of the resolution of a complaint. The advisor may not provide testimony or otherwise intercede in or obstruct the student conduct process.

However, you may request a break at any time during meetings to talk to your advisor, as long as it doesn’t unreasonably impede the meeting.

The advisor is someone who is present to help the Complainant or Respondent understand the proceedings and to support them in what can be a difficult and stressful experience. Because of this, it is strongly recommended that the advisor become familiar with the investigation and resolution process in order to effectively advise the participant and accurately and appropriately guide them throughout the process. The Title IX Coordinator and designees are available to provide training for advisors. Additionally, advisors are encouraged to review the information and resources on this website so that know the university process and proceedings so that they can more effectively assist the Complainant or Respondent.

Unfortunately, we have seen advisors choose not to take advantage of these opportunities and therefore provide inaccurate and sometimes disadvantageous advice. Engaging in obstructive behaviors, ignoring or intentionally violating the procedures set in place or providing flawed guidance not only does a disservice to the participant they are assisting, but may also place advisors in violation of their own ethical obligations (such as in the case of attorneys).

It is also important for advisors to understand that if they do not comply with the university’s rules and procedures, they may be asked to leave the proceeding or be restricted from serving as an advisor.

Does an advisor need to be an attorney?

No. A student may select any person to be an advisor, including but not limited to:

  • Another student not involved in the complaint
  • A parent or family member
  • A member of the faculty or administration not involved in the complaint
  • A translator
  • An attorney, limited to one attorney if a member of a law firm
  • A union representative

It is strongly recommended that an advisor not be a witness or have a conflicting role in the underlying allegations or student conduct process.

As a reminder, you should not offer legal advice if you are not a trained legal professional.

Do I need to have the advisor complete a form?

If you have chosen an advisor for the student conduct process, you (the student) must complete the Advisor Designation and Authorization form.

Where can my advisor get more information on the student conduct process?

An advisor can call the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards to talk with a conduct professional about the conduct process. For questions related specifically to the prohibited discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct process, advisors can call the Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance.

The student conduct process is outlined in the Student Conduct Code.

Additional standard operating procedures apply to allegations of prohibited discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct.

The student conduct process is also described in detail on the Office of the Dean of Students website which provides a general overview.

The Title IX Coordinator and/or the Office of the Dean of Students will also supply the student with confidential resources and support information. These are described in greater detail at the Resources for Complainants and Resources for Respondents sections of this site.

Who should I contact if I need disability accommodations during the student conduct process?

The Complainant or Respondent should promptly notify the Investigator in charge of their investigation if they may need accommodations during any part of the student conduct process and if the party is a student, they student should contact the Accessible Education Center (AEC) to discuss what accommodations may be appropriate for their particular situation. All student accommodation requests are assessed, granted and made by AEC. Non-student participants should contact the Investigator to discuss accommodation requests.

However, if at any time the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards determines that a student accused of misconduct under the Student Conduct Code lacks the mental capacity to respond to the allegation, the Director will pause the student conduct process and/or proceeding until the Director determines the student may adequately respond to the allegations and meaningfully participate in the process.

I speak English as a second language. Are there additional resources available during the student conduct process?

The Complainant or Respondent may, on their own, select an English interpreter to assist them with the process. Individuals have often sought assistance from professors, advisors and friends or family when language has been a barrier to full participation. There are resources in the Eugene/Springfield area and the student may request assistance from the Director or the OICRC in locating assistance. The University will attempt to fulfill this request as appropriate and reasonable. The interpreter may accompany the student to official meetings along with the advisor, but their role at official meetings will be limited to language translation.

Does the designation of an advisor affect the student conduct process?

The designation of an advisor does not change how an allegation of student misconduct will be resolved because the student conduct process is a student-centered process. All communications will be directed to and take place directly with the Complainant or Respondent.

The investigator reserves the right to recommend for removal any advisor who distracts, derails, impedes or disrupts any part of the student conduct process. If the Title IX Coordinator and Director of Student Conduct or their designees determine that the advisor has engaged in unreasonable, disruptive, harassing or retaliatory behavior, they may require the Complainant or Respondent to proceed without an advisor or identify a new advisor.

Can I have more than one advisor?

No, a participant may only have one advisor during the process. In order to change advisors during the process, a participant will need to submit a new Advisor Designation Form. Generally, changing advisors mid-process will not constitute a reasonable delay.

Specifically, a participant may not designate an entire law firm as their advisor for this Formal Process. Only one attorney from that firm may be designated as the advisor at a time. However, to avoid unreasonable delays, if an attorney encounters a conflict in representation or scheduling, another attorney from that firm may replace temporarily the designated advisor. The participant will need to confirm this temporary replacement by submitting an Advisor Designation Form prior to the advisor’s participation in the process.

Where can I find more information on my rights during the student conduct process?

Students involved on either side of the complaint are entitled to a fair, balanced, and equitable resolution process. Learn more on the Complainant Rights and Respondent Rights pages.

Are there alternative resolutions to allegations of student misconduct other than the formal student conduct process?

Please see Section D of the standard operating procedures which answers this question.

What happens if there is a criminal investigation?

Please see Section H of the standard operating procedures which answers this question.