Access our factsheet on advisors, or read the below information.
This page summarizes the expectations and responsibilities of individuals serving as advisors to parties to an Institute Discrimination and Harassment Response Office (IDHR) investigation. This information is intended to supplement, but does not supplant, the information in IDHR’s Investigation Guide.
Detailed information about IDHR policies and procedures can also be found on our website and in our Investigation Guide. While IDHR’s investigation process adheres to federal and state law, it is not a legal process, does not use courtroom procedures or processes, and does not follow civil or criminal evidentiary rules.
An advisor is someone who assists a party with the investigation process and procedures. An advisor often assists in document drafting and review, as well as overall strategy.
IDHR investigations are conducted by trained investigators who neutrally, fairly, and reliably gather relevant facts and produce an investigative report. Investigators engage with all parties and participants in an investigation with dignity and respect. The investigation is designed to be timely, thorough, voluntary, and impartial.
The Complainant and the Respondent will have an equal opportunity to participate in the investigation, including an equal opportunity to be heard, submit evidence, and suggest witnesses who may have relevant information.
Scope and Role of Advisors
Selection of an Advisor
The Complainant and Respondent can select an advisor of their choosing who is a member of the MIT community and NOT an attorney, with the exception of cases involving allegations described below in Section 3.
General Expectations of Advisors
- Advisors may accompany the party throughout the investigation process, but may not speakon the party’s behalf or otherwise interfere with meetings or proceedings.
- Throughout the investigation process, advisors may also help the party prepare written submissions.
- Parties are expected to inform IDHR of the identity of their advisors.
- Parties may share information and documents with their advisors.
- Parties may request that the Investigator include their advisors on all correspondence.
- By accepting the role of advisor, all advisors agree to comply with all applicable MIT policiesand procedures, including rules regarding privacy and the Institute’s Expectations of Decorum, the processes set out in the IDHR Investigation Guide, P &P Section 9.8, and the Committee on Discipline (COD) Rules.
- The Institute will not interfere with the parties’ rights to have an advisor of their choice and fully expects advisors to adhere voluntarily to MIT policies and procedures.
- In extreme cases, where either IDHR or a hearing chair determines that an advisor’s conduct undermines or interferes with the integrity of the process, the advisor will be prohibited from continuing to serve as advisor or support person in that case. The affected party will be permitted to obtain a substitute advisor.
- If IDHR or a hearing chair determines that an advisor has a conflict of interest, the advisor will be prohibited from continuing in their role. The affected party will be permitted to obtain a substitute advisor.
Attorneys may only serve as advisors in investigations of certain matters:
- For employee matters1: Attorney advisors are ONLY permitted in matters alleging sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, or Title IX Sexual Harassment.2
- For student matters3: Attorney advisors are ONLY permitted in matters alleging sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, or stalking, including Title IX Sexual Harassment.
- For all other IDHR investigations, the Complainant and Respondent can select an advisor of their choosing who is a member of the MIT community and NOT an attorney.4
- IDHR Investigation Guide
- Institute Expectations for Decorum
- Information for Complainants and Respondents
- Formal Complaint Process Flowcharts
- MIT Policies and Procedures Section 9.0 Relations and Responsibilities Within the MIT Community
- MIT P&P Section 9.8 Complaint Resolution
- MIT Committee on Discipline Rules
1 An employee investigation is one in which the Respondent is a faculty member, staff member, researcher, or postdoctoral scholar.
2 In matters against staff, researchers, postdoctoral scholars, and faculty members, P&P, Section 9.8 governs who may serve as an advisor or support person.
3 A student investigation is one in which the Respondent is a student (undergraduate or graduate).
4 Nothing contained on this page, nor any Institute policy or procedure, shall prevent an individual from seeking advice from an attorney. A party may consult an attorney, but that attorney cannot serve as the party’s advisor in cases that fall outside the cases described above.