Students can now hire advisors for student conduct cases

As part of the campus-wide overhaul of the sexual assault policy, students can now hire a lawyer to serve as an advisor in conduct cases, according to the Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Office.

The Student Conduct Code allows students to provide information to the Office of the Dean, which can also serve as the complainant — or the person bringing the case — on behalf of the victim. New this year, both complainants and defendants can hire a lawyer who may serve as an advisor during the case, according to Adam Garrett, Director of the Student Advocacy Center.

In compliance with Title IX, the Student Conduct Code for 2014-2015 now has 11 new procedural protections for resolving sexual assault and harassment cases. The protections guarantee both the complainant and the defendant access to the case file, adequate time to prepare for a case and the right to appeal in certain situations, Garrett said.

“As I look at the code, honestly the majority of the substance that’s written in there that is different from last year was already in practice,” said Regina Curran, assistant director of the Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Services. “We felt like we need to put this out there in a resource that students can read without having to meet with somebody.”

The code also outlines different definitions for dating violence and domestic violence, Curran said. Dating violence and domestic violence are now considered prohibited conduct and can result in disciplinary action, such as probation, loss of privileges or dismissal from the University, according to the code.

Dating violence includes any “violent or abusive behavior against an intimate partner,” while domestic violence includes “violent or abusive behavior against a roommate, family member or intimate partner,” according to the code.

Curran also noted that the University has created different definitions for harassment and stalking, which had previously been coupled under the same category.

While Curran says AU already provided most of these rights for students in past cases, the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, public attention around Title IX and the EI email leak prompted the University to put current action into policy.

“It just started to make sense that, instead of trying to fit Title IX stuff into other portions of the code, [we] really just give it its own voice,” Curran said.

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