FAQs for Advisors

What is my role with the student/respondent? What will I be expected to do?

As an advisor, you are able to help the student to understand the disciplinary process, encourage him or her to respect and comply with the stipulations of the Charter of the Student Disciplinary System, and deal with all aspects of the disciplinary process.

You will give the student practical and informed advice about the best way to proceed. You will attend meetings with the student at OSC. If the case goes before a hearing panel, you are expected to attend the hearing with the student.

Advisors are not advocates for the student. Students are expected to speak for themselves.

How often will I be asked to serve as an advisor?

Your name will appear on an alphabetical list provided to each student who is notified that a disciplinary complaint has been filed against him or her. This list includes your University affiliation and contact information. Students who wish to have an advisor will consult the list. Some may choose a University community member known to them who is not on the list. Of those students who use our list to contact an advisor, many may ask you to be their advisor or you may be contacted rarely or never. We do not know why this happens.

How far in advance will I be contacted by the student?

Generally, you will not be contacted until the student receives a notice letter. Upon receiving the letter, students are expected to make an appointment with OSC. Some students seek an advisor before making the appointment; others may not contact you until the last minute. If needed, the student may ask to postpone the initial meeting in order to accommodate your schedule.

Once I agree to be a student’s Advisor, may I withdraw during the process if something unforeseen arises? May the student change advisors during the process?

In our experience, it is best if a student remains with one advisor throughout the process. However, while it is discouraged, you may withdraw for good cause and a student may choose to change advisors.

How long will the disciplinary process take?

It is difficult to determine at the start of a case how long the process will take or how much effort it will require. It often depends on the student’s response and cooperation. If a case goes to a disciplinary hearing, a greater time commitment may be required.

Of the 300+ cases we handle each year, only about 4–5 proceed to hearings. Most cases are resolved through voluntary agreements. In each case, we work hard to determine whether the student is responsible for the alleged behavior and if we determine the student is responsible, to help the student gain insight about what he or she did wrong with the goal of resolving the case by agreement.

Is there anything special I need to know about the students I will work with?

For some students, the disciplinary process is the most stressful event of their lives thus far. For this or other reasons, some students need additional emotional support.

Most of the students we work with are honest, respectful and cooperative. Some are not.

Should I expect to be involved with the student’s parents?

Most parents do not significantly involve themselves in the disciplinary process and will not contact you. Some will. With the student’s permission, you may communicate with parents, but you may also tell them to contact the Associate Director handling the case. Parents are more likely to contact OSC than to contact advisors.

What is my role at a disciplinary hearing?

During the hearing, you may quietly advise the student and, if the student wishes, may also make a brief statement at the conclusion of the hearing, before the panel begins its deliberations.

Is a disciplinary hearing like a trial?

Disciplinary hearings are not trials, and they are not constrained by technical rules of procedure, evidence, or judicial formality. They are designed to encourage open and honest discussion among the participants that promotes the hearing panel’s understanding of the facts, the individuals involved, the circumstances under which the incident occurred, the nature of the conduct, and the attitudes and experience of those involved.