What is the role of an adviser?
An adviser is a member of the college community (a current faculty member, staff member, or student) chosen by a student to provide personal support through the student conduct process. An adviser may not speak on behalf of, or otherwise represent their advisees. Advisers may not be lawyers. Advisers typically provide moral support, help students prepare for their hearing, and may speak softly to or write notes to the student during the hearing so long as they do not become disruptive.
When should I not to be an Adviser?
- If one has a relationship with student(s) on opposing sides that may compromise their future role with the students (e.g., both are advisees, both are residence hall residents).
- If one feels so strongly about the issues involved in the hearing that they do not feel they can effectively assist the student seeking support.
- If one experiences any other conflict of interest.
- If you do not feel comfortable with the situation in any way. Part of being an adviser is offering support to the best of your ability. Anxiety and/or hesitancy can interfere with your capacity to properly assist the student.
How to say 'no' to being an adviser:
- Be honest. You are not letting the student down by articulating that you are not the right person for the situation, you are ensuring they identify an individual who can fully support them during the conduct process.
- Don’t sacrifice or make time that you do not have. Added stress on an adviser does not benefit the student.
- Offer to assist the student in finding an alternative adviser who can better support them.
- Remind the student that an adviser is purely supportive role. Your role or specialty has no weight in the hearing process.
- Don’t be afraid to refer the student to the Assistant Dean of Students or Case Administrator for questions or concerns.
What should be done prior to a hearing?
- Review the procedures outlined in the Student Handbook and discuss them in detail with the student. Direct procedural questions to the Case Administrator or the Assistant Dean of Students.
- Assist the student in preparing a written statement. The statement must be in the student’s own words. You may make suggestions to help clarify the statement. You may also assist the student in editing out inflammatory language and/or subjective statements that are not supported by evidence. Help the student to be thorough and forthright.
- Assist the student in identifying and meeting deadlines for the submission of materials.
- Help the student prepare for the hearing. Review all materials. Guide the student in anticipating questions that may be asked during the hearing and assist the student in preparing a clear response.
- Arrange to meet the student just prior to the hearing so that you can enter the hearing together.
What should be done during a hearing?
- Remember that advisers may not speak during the hearing. The adviser’s role is to support the student as they present their own statements.
- Listen carefully to the discussion.
- If, for any reason, the adviser feels the student would benefit from taking a break, suggest quietly to the student that they request one. At that point, the adviser may step into another room to assist the student, to help him/her/them clarify a question, raise a new issue or prepare a cogent response.
- At the end of the hearing, give the student constructive feedback.
What should be done after the hearing?
- Offer to hold a debriefing session with the student to review any sanctions, discuss how best to move forward, help them identify opportunities for growth, and consider the appeal process if applicable.
- If the student is eligible to appeal and intends to do so, review the appeal criteria (The Conduct Process-Code of Conduct) with the student to determine if their reasoning/thinking is sound for an appeal.
- If the appeal criteria is met, review the appeal form with the student to ensure that it is complete and includes all required information.
- Do not give your opinion on what the decision of the hearing might be. Your role is purely supportive. While comforting, false hope can be detrimental to learning and growth.