An advisor is an individual who has been selected by an accused student or student organization (respondent) to advise them through the student conduct process and who has agreed to assist the respondent. However, in cases where the complainant or reporting party participates, they may also be granted the option to have an advisor on a case-by-case basis. Advisors can assist by offering advice for how to participate in the student conduct process, as well as basic emotional support and appropriate referral to resources. Different advisors may emphasize one of those more than the other, depending upon the advisor’s skill set and the needs of the advisee. That said, student conduct proceedings are not as complicated as a court of law and many people navigate the process without an advisor.
Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities (SRR) staff can provide information on the process, but must also remain impartial throughout. Advisors fill a special role directed at helping an advisee through this process by being supportive and by helping the person prepare for their student conduct proceeding
An advisor can be any one of the advisee’s choosing, so long as they are not otherwise involved in the incident. This could include:
- a GW faculty or staff member,
- a GW student,
- a parent or family member,
- or a friend.
An attorney may serve as an advisor, but may not represent their advisee. Because of the educational nature of the process, participants are expected to articulate on their own behalf.
A respondent may choose to have more than one advisor throughout the student conduct process. However, only one advisor may be present at any student conduct proceeding (also referred to as a hearing or conference) or meeting with SRR staff.
Advisors are not permitted to speak for their advisees, nor are they permitted to ask questions of witnesses or others during a student conduct proceeding. They are present to advise and support their advisees only.
Role of the Advisor
Prior to a student conduct proceeding:
- Arrange to meet with the advisee to review the information and determine how best to approach the student conduct process.
- Ensure the advisee has been truthful with you about the totality of the incident and that they have provided all relevant communications and documentation related to this incident.
- In some situations, the advisee may sign and submit an Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities - Consent to Release Confidential Information Form (PDF).
- Assist the advisee with compiling information that they can present at the student conduct proceeding, including brainstorming a list of witnesses and relevant evidence.
- If invited by the advisee, attend any pre-hearing meetings with SRR staff.
- Help the advisee practice and otherwise prepare for the student conduct proceeding.
- Provide basic emotional support and referrals to your advisee.
During a student conduct proceeding, an advisor may:
- Consult quietly with their advisee.
- Suggest questions for the advisee to ask in a manner that that does not interrupt the conduct proceeding.
- Assist the advisee in clarifying their response to questions.
During a student conduct proceeding, an advisor may not:
- Question witnesses.
- Speak on the advisee’s behalf.
- Object in any manner to questions asked or discussions raised.
- Interrupt the proceeding.
Should an advisor disrupt a student conduct proceeding, they may be removed by the presiding officer or the Director of the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities, or designee. For advisors who are students, such disruption may be a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, and a person may be charged following their disruption and removal.