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Preparing to be an Advisor

What is the purpose of an advisor for students called to appear before the Honor Board?
While not all student respondents (students who have been called in front of the Honor Board to determine his/her responsibility for possible College policy violations) have an advisor help prepare for an Honor Board hearing or accompany the respondent during the hearing, an advisor can significantly support the positive educational effects of the process. If a student chooses to have an advisor attend his or her Honor Board hearing the student must notify the Honor Board chair (or the appropriate administrator identified by the Honor Board chair) at least five days prior to the hearing in writing.

Listening, challenging, and supporting the student respondent in a non-judgmental manner are important actions to ensure that the experience results in the maximum amount of learning for the student respondent. Advisors do not need pre-existing knowledge of the specifics of Washington College’s student conduct process but should familiarize themselves with the Honor Code, the mission of the Honor Board, and the information available on the website. Additionally, the advisor should support the Washington College Honor Code and its primacy in the life of campus community members.

Who can be an advisor? With the exception of Title IX cases (sexual misconduct, harassment, or discrimination), an advisor must be a member of the College community (faculty, staff, or student). In Title IX cases the advisor can be any person of the respondent’s choosing and the complainant may also bring an advisor of his/her choosing.

The advisor cannot be someone who will appear as a witness at the hearing or has another official role in the hearing. It is the responsibility of the student respondent to identify and contact an advisor if the student desires to have one at his or her hearing.

A good advisor is someone with whom the respondent is comfortable as well as someone who is willing to be honest with the respondent. Effective advisors can simultaneously support and challenge a student respondent and help him or her reflect on his or her behavior and, where applicable, the behavior’s impact on others in the campus community.

What should an advisor do before the hearing? An advisor can be a sounding board for students who are preparing to appear in front of the Honor Board and can help relieve some of the stress that students can experience when they are anticipating an Honor Board appearance. In fact, the advisor’s most important work is done prior to the hearing. The advisor should discuss the charges and discuss with the respondent whether or not he or she is accepting responsibility for violating College policy.

The advisor is urged to review the information for students who are appearing before the Honor Board so they are familiar with the Honor Board process.  The advisor should discuss the charges, whether or not the respondent is accepting responsibility for violating College policy, and what the respondent would like to say in an opening and closing statement.

The advisor should not conjecture about or attempt to predict the possible outcome of the hearing with the respondent; rather, the advisor should help the respondent prepare for all possible outcomes. While it may be tempting for an advisor – in an attempt to relieve stress for the student respondent -- to minimize the possible sanctions if the student is found responsible, it is far more important for the advisor to focus on what the student can control. Advisors should focus on supporting the student in the development of effective opening and closing statements and engaging in appropriate self-reflection about the incident that has brought him or her before the Honor Board.

What does an advisor do at the hearing? The advisor may confer privately with the respondent and provide moral support but is not allowed to participate during the hearing.  The advisor is present throughout all aspects of the hearing where the student respondent is present.

What role does the advisor have after a hearing? Although there is no formal role, the advisor may provide support for the student respondent after the hearing as needed or desired. The advisor is not notified about the outcome of the hearing; it is the responsibility of the student respondent to share the outcome with the advisor.