Federal law allows students who have been accused of sexual assault the right to an advisor of their choice. In most schools, advisors are encouraged to not talk during a school hearing. But their presence, along with the advice they can offer while attending a hearing could prove to be beneficial.
During a time when it feels like the cards are stacked against you, an advisor can be an asset to you and the outcome of your case. This is why it's important that you think long and hard about who you select to accompany you through this grueling process.
Selecting an Advisor
When choosing an advisor, many students may not be aware of the characteristics or attributes of people that would make them a good choice. However, students who have the most success select advisors that meet a series of crucial requirements. If you are currently looking for someone to best fulfill the role of an advisor, you want someone who meets the following criteria:
- A person who is reliable and on your side
- A person who you makes you feel comfortable
- A person who can give you useful advice about what's going on in a hearing and how to respond
- A person who can make critical evaluations and be painfully honest about what's going on
- A person who is capable of taking clear and concise notes throughout a hearing that may be useful to your case later on
You might experience that finding someone who has all those characteristics is a difficult endeavor. However, making a list of potential advisors that have exhibited the attributes that you find more important than others, like comfortability, for example, could help you narrow down your options and make a choice. In the event that your pursuit has not been successful, the school offers you options and the assistance of a legal professional is available.
Choosing an Attorney as Your Advisor
Most schools will offer respondents a list of school advisors that they can choose from. At first, it's normal for students to feel like they can't trust anyone associated with the school. After all, they've most likely been treated like they are guilty by staff and higher education institution authorities. And unfortunately, sometimes, these concerns are justified. However, it's important that you are aware that a lawyer can live up to expectations that you have for an advisor, just as well, if not better than anyone else that is recommended by a school. Federal law permits lawyers to serve as advisors if need be. Obviously, choosing a lawyer has its advantages. An attorney will be able to provide the following characteristics that respondents are looking for in an advisor:
It's important that when interviewing potential advisors, you ensure that what is said between the two of you will not be disclosed to any third party. Rather than drafting up a confidentiality statement for someone you may not be able to trust, attorneys already have attorney-client privileges that protect all communications between both a legal professional and his or her clients. You won't ever have to worry about them disclosing any personal information about you or the case during Title IX processes.
A person that seems overly committed to the school may not be a good choice. Apparently, professors who have tenure may not have any incentive to appease the school. But professors that aren't tenured or an administrator that may want to move up in the future might operate in a different fashion. In order to determine the position of a person you're dealing with, look up the name of a potential advisor, check their credentials and evaluate their level of dependence to the school. An attorney, however, has absolutely no affiliation with a school. Their only duty is to ensure that your rights are protected.