Right To An Advisor
All parties are entitled to an advisor of their choosing to assist them throughout the Title IX grievance process. The advisor may be a friend, counselor, faculty member, family member, attorney or any other individual a party chooses to advise them who is eligible and available to serve during the grievance process. Any person who may be called as a witness may not serve as an advisor. Rockford Sexual Assault Counseling under agreement with Rockford University may be a resource for parties during this process.
Parties are entitled to be accompanied by their advisor in all meetings, interviews, hearings, and appeals at which the party is entitled to be present during the grievance process. Parties are required to have an advisor present at the live hearing. If a party does not have an advisor available to be present at the live hearing, Rockford University will provide the party with an advisor of the University’s choice in the University’s sole discretion, who may or may not be an attorney.
The University cannot guarantee equal advisory rights. Consequently, if one party selects an advisor who is an attorney, but the other party does not or cannot afford an attorney, the University is not obligated to provide an attorney or other advisor at an interview or meeting. The College is required to provide the party with an advisor at the hearing, but the advisor provided to the party at the hearing is not required to be an attorney.
To locate an advisor, respondents may wish to contact organizations such as:
- Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE) (http://www.facecampusequality.org)
- Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) (http://www.saveservices.org),
Complainants may wish to contact organizations such as:
- The Victim Rights Law Center (http://www.victimrights.org)
- The National Center for Victims of Crime (http://www.victimsofcrime.org), which maintains the Crime Victim’s Bar Association
All advisors are subject to the same University rules whether they are attorneys or not. Advisors may not present on behalf of their advisee in a meeting or interview. Advisors must conduct all cross-examination of the other party and all witnesses in a live hearing even in the event that the advisee is not present at the live hearing.
Advisors should request or wait for a break in the interview, hearing, or meeting if they wish to interact with University Title IX personnel. Advisors may confer quietly with their advisees as necessary, as long as they do not disrupt the process. For longer or more involved discussions, the parties and their advisors should ask for breaks or step out of meetings to allow for private conversation. Advisors will typically be given a timely opportunity to meet in advance of any interview or hearing with the administrative officials conducting that interview or meeting. This pre-meeting will allow advisors to clarify any process questions they may have and allows the University an opportunity to clarify the role the advisor is expected to take.
Advisors are expected to refrain from interference with the University investigation and resolution. Any advisor who fails to follow the guidelines established by the University in the grievance process will be provided an oral warning. If the advisor continues to disrupt or otherwise fails to follow those guidelines, the advisor will be asked to leave the proceeding. If an advisor is asked to leave, the meeting, interview, hearing or other proceeding will be suspended until the party advisor is reinstated; the party secures another advisor to accompany them at that meeting, interview, hearing or proceeding; or the University provides the party with another advisor for the hearing.
If an advisor is asked to leave a proceeding, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the advisor may be reinstated or must be replaced by a different advisor for the remainder of the grievance process.
The parties must advise the Title IX Coordinator of the identity of their advisor at least two (2) business days before the date of their first meeting with Title IX Coordinator and scheduled hearing. A party may elect to change advisors during the process and is not locked into using the same advisor throughout, but the parties must provide subsequent timely notice to the investigators if they change advisors at any time. No audio or video recording of any kind other than as required by institutional procedure is permitted during meetings with University officials.
Updated: August 2020
Rights of Both Parties concerning Sexual violence, dating and domestic violence and stalking concerns:
Each party has the following rights:
Respect and Common Courtesy and Confidentiality
- The right to be treated with respect by University officials
- The right to have University policies and procedures followed without material deviation
- The right to be informed in advance of any public release of information regarding the incident
Fair, Thorough, Timely Process
- The right to investigation and appropriate resolution of all credible reports or notice of sexual misconduct or discrimination made in good faith to University officials
- The right to meetings, interviews, and/or hearings that are closed to the public
- The right to regular updates on the status of the investigation and/or resolution
- The right to discuss and share information relating to the allegation/complaint with others who will provide assistance and/or support during the investigation and/or resolution process
- The right to review all documentary evidence available regarding the report, subject to the privacy limitations imposed by state and federal law, at least 48 priors to the hearing
- The right to be informed of the names of all witnesses who will be called to give testimony at least 2 business days prior to the hearing, except in cases where a witness’ identity will not be revealed to the responding party for compelling safety reasons (this does not include the name of the reporting party which will always be revealed)
- The opportunity (if desired) to ask questions indirectly of all present witnesses including the responding party, and the right to challenge documentary evidence. (Parties may not personally question or cross-examine each other)
- The right to have reports heard by hearing and appeals officers who have received annual sexual misconduct training
- The right to a panel comprised of representatives of both genders if a panel is to be used
- The right to petition that any member of the investigation team and/or conduct body be recused on the basis of demonstrated bias or conflict of interest
Findings, Determination, Outcomes
- The right not to have irrelevant prior sexual history admitted as evidence in a University resolution process
- The right to make or provide an impact statement in person or in writing to the hearing officers following determination of responsibility but prior to sanctioning
- The right to be informed of the outcome and sanction of the resolution process in writing, without undue delay between the notifications to the parties, and usually within one (1) business day of the end of the process
- The right to be informed in writing of when a decision of the University is considered final, any changes to the sanction to occur before the decision is finalized, to be informed of the right to appeal the finding and sanction of the resolution process, and the procedures for doing so in accordance with the standards for appeal established by the University
Additional Rights of the Reporting Party
- The right not to be pressured to mediate or otherwise informally resolve any reported misconduct involving violence, including sexual violence
- The right to be informed by University officials of options to notify proper law enforcement authorities including local police, and the option to be assisted by University authorities in notifying such authorities if the student so chooses
- The right not to be discouraged by University officials from reporting sexual misconduct or discrimination to both on-campus and off-campus authorities
- The right to have reports of sexual misconduct responded to promptly and with sensitivity by University officials
- The right to be notified of available counseling, mental health, victim advocacy, health, legal assistance, student financial aid, visa and immigration assistance or other student services for victims of sexual assault, both on campus and in the community
- The right to a University no contact order (or a trespass order against a non-affiliated third party) when someone has engaged in or threatens to engage in stalking, threatening, harassing or other improper behavior that presents a danger to the welfare of the reporting party of others
- The right to notification of and options for, and available assistance in, changing academic and living situations after an alleged sexual misconduct incident if so requested by the reporting party and if such changes are reasonable available (no formal report or investigation, campus or criminal, need occur before this option is available)
- The right to have the University maintain such accommodations for as long as is necessary, and for the protective measures to remain confidential, provided confidentiality does not impair the University’s ability to provide the accommodation or protective measures
- The right to be fully informed of University policies and procedures as well as the nature and extent of all alleged policy violations contained within the report
- The right to ask the investigators to identify and question relevant witnesses including expert witnesses
- The right not to be required to be present at resolution hearing as a pre-requisite to proceed
- The right to preservation of privacy, to the extent possible and permitted by law
- The right to bring a victim advocate or advisor of the reporting party’s choosing to all phases of the investigation and resolution proceeding
- The right to provide evidence by means other than being in the same room with the responding party (e.g. Skype, teleconference call, etc.)
- The right to be present for all testimony given and evidence presented during any resolution based hearing
Additional Rights of Responding Party
- The right to be informed of and have access to University resources for medical, health, counseling, and advisory services
- The right to be fully informed of the nature, policies and procedures of the University resolution process and to timely written notice of all alleged policy violations within the report including the nature of the violation and possible sanctions
- The right to a hearing on the report including timely notice of hearing date and adequate time for preparation
- The right to have an advisor of their choice to accompany and assist in the University resolution process
- The right to a fundamentally fair resolution as defined in these procedures
- The right to a decision based solely on evidence presented during the resolution process. Such evidence shall be credible, relevant, based in fact and without prejudice