TNG Hearing Advisors
TNG HEARING ADVISORS: COMPLIANCE & COMPETENCE
Satisfy the new regulatory requirements with professionalism and expertise. Contract with TNG to serve as advisors to your students/employees in all resolution-related meetings, interviews, hearings, and appeals related to allegations of sexual harassment.
THE PROBLEM: Millions of college and K-12 students – and faculty and staff – are exposed to the risk of sexual violence and harassment, or to accusations of engaging in this type of misconduct. 80% of students have experienced sexual harassment by the time they graduate from college, with some studies showing upwards of 20-25% being exposed to sexual violence. Some fraction of this population will report their experiences to school administrators, seeking the protection of the institution’s policies and the relevant laws, and some fraction of this population will face allegations of serious misconduct.
Who will help your students and employees navigate through complex institutional/district resolution processes? TNG will. Congress has enacted VAWA Section 304 to ensure that college students and employees have access to advisors during sexual misconduct resolution processes, but not every student can afford a high-quality advisor. The 2020 Title IX regulations broaden that right, and apply it to K-12, too. Now, TNG seeks to level the playing field with an advisory service that contracts with schools and colleges to afford qualified, experienced advisors to students and employees on demand.
RIGHTS-AT-STAKE: Students and employees all have rights under state and federal law, including broad due process protections under the Constitution and Title IX. Under existing law, students have limited rights to outside advisors in internal school disciplinary proceedings. The U.S. Department of Education’s implemented new Title IX regulations in the fall of 2020. These regulations extend the right to an advisor in all Title cases by allowing all parties (students or employees) the advisor of their choice, including an attorney, to advise and accompany them throughout the Title IX resolution process.
At the college level, the regulations require advisor involvement in conducting cross-examination on behalf of parties in live hearings at public and private colleges. Where an advisor is not chosen by a student, the draft regulations require colleges to provide such an advisor to each party in a sexual misconduct allegation. The onus that this requirement creates is significant, with ample new responsibility placed on institutions along with a significant source of potential liability. One option is to outsource. TNG has offered this service directly to parties and their families for years, but now we are offering it to colleges and schools as an annual, flat-fee program.
LOOMING DISASTER: With these impending federal regulatory changes, disaster potentially looms. Colleges are going to need to hire new employees to fill these advisory roles or find volunteers. Training will be paramount, and costly. Volunteers won’t want this responsibility for long, as colleges experience an uptick in lawsuits for ineffective assistance from volunteer advisors. College-appointed advisors are blamed by parties for mishandling cases, for poor cross-examination technique, and for conflicted advice or divided loyalties. Many college-appointed advisors don’t prefer to work with Respondents. Consider as well the socio-economic disparity that may result when one party is advised by a college-appointed advisor but the other party retains an experienced litigator. Asymmetrical advising is a problem best addressed – and bypassed – before it affects the outcome of a case.
THE SOLUTION: TNG HEARING ADVISORS.
EQUITY OF ADVISING: With this service, every Complainant can access an expert advisor irrespective of their race, culture, socio-economic status, or other demographic privileges or impediments. Every Respondent can access an expert advisor irrespective of their race, culture, socio-economic status, or other demographic privileges or impediments. TNG Hearing Advisors operates based on the premise that Congress is right. Every party deserves top quality advising, with an advisor who is there for the party, and beholden to no one else.
WHO: TNG has a roster of 30 trained, experienced consultants who know these processes inside and out, and are available to serve your students and employees as independent advisors. Free of conflicts-of-interest that any internal advisor could have, many TNG Hearing Advisors were directors of college disciplinary processes before they became TNG Hearing Advisors. TNG Hearing Advisors can serve on either side of a disciplinary proceeding, or both. We use effective internal firewalls to prevent our advisors from interacting with each other when they are involved on different sides of the same matter.
THE TNG ADVANTAGE: Colleges want to provide fairness in internal disciplinary proceedings, but now they are being asked to take on the role of providing advisors and managing complex cross-examination during live hearings. The K-12 process is less complex, but not by much. The TNG Hearing Advisors service allows colleges and districts to professionalize this function with external experts. These experts level the playing field, remove the advantage of anyone retaining a big-gun attorney, provide economic parity, and eliminate the potential conflicts-of-interest that can arise with internal advisors. With TNG, you get experts on advising who are also subject-matter experts on Title IX and sexual misconduct.
THE COST: The TNG Advisors service is available for an annual flat-fee. We contract with each institution/district for an expected number of advisory roles on an annual basis, and we guarantee an advisor to your students and/or employees within 48 hours of notifying us of the need.
Our advisors are paid for by the institution, but the student or employee is the client. Our advisors attend any necessary meetings, accompany the parties through the investigation interviews, help them prepare for hearings, and conduct cross-examination on their behalf (if needed), all while respecting the institutional policies governing the role of advisors.
TNG has priced this service to be cost-effective, with affordable rates and professional experts to meet your needs and help you to assure fairness within your processes. Is this service inexpensive? No. But we are confident that it is less expensive than the lawsuits filed if institutions attempt to handle these complicated roles internally.
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MANAGING INSTITUTIONAL RISK: Consider the exposure institutions will have going forward as all parties “lawyer up” in this process, and then the lawyers selected as advisors sue the college or school after its determination. TNG won’t do that. We are advisors for the internal process, and nothing more. TNG will not litigate against its clients. Based on that fact alone, there is considerable value in using TNG Hearing Advisors; we won’t sue a college, school, or district, and the effectiveness of our advising make it much less likely a party will sue after completion of the resolution process, as we will work diligently to assure that their rights are respected.
TNG helps to ensure the process is completed fairly, pursuant to internal policies, and we help the parties make every possible argument in their matter. This thorough, skilled approach makes it less likely parties will sue based on a procedural error or an inability to fully and fairly respond to the evidence during the resolution process (common current grounds for lawsuits).
Our advisory services also mitigate the risk of an OCR complaint or investigation, with an average savings to schools and colleges of $90,000-$300,000 per OCR investigation, according to various sources who measure these costs.
Many of our consultants are attorneys, though some are not, but they are all highly qualified experts who know Title IX and sexual misconduct cases inside and out. They respect institutional processes, because most of them used to work for institutions and ran these processes as administrators. They also know better how to assist parties than most other internal or external advisors because they have dedicated their careers to these topics. They have a steadfast commitment to advising their advisee in every aspect of the resolution process, including:
- Assistance with intake and navigation of supportive measures, dismissals, emergency removals and other complex aspects of the 2020 Title IX regulations.
- Connecting the parties with local and campus resources, including case managers, victim advocates, crisis centers, victim-witness coordinators, and services agencies;
- Liaison with local police, as necessary;
- Liaison with family members, as necessary;
- Advising on process, expectations, and possible outcomes;
- Prepare for investigative interviews, including organizing statements, evidence, etc.
- Accompaniment and advising during investigative interviews;
- Support and preparation for hearing;
- Accompaniment during pre-hearings and hearings, including conducting respectful and appropriate cross-examination on behalf the advisee, if needed;
- Support and preparation for requesting an appeal, and participation in any appeal proceeding;
- Post-appeal remedial advising and/or sanctions-compliance advising, if needed.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE TNG HEARING ADVISORS PROGRAM:
- TNG agrees to provide a qualified, experienced process advisor to any student or employee within 48 hours of receiving a request, up to the contracted-for quota of advisors annually. Extensions of quotas can be arranged as needed.
- TNG advisors are agnostic, meaning they are able to equally and fairly work with and advise any party, whether a Respondent or Complainant. But, they are by no means indifferent to the interests of every client they advise.
- TNG advisors are bound by a code of ethics that informs their respectful advising of parties with integrity.
- TNG process advisors are either attorneys or former college administrators. These individuals function as advisors in this role, not as attorneys, and do not maintain bar admission in every state.
- TNG will make every effort to accommodate parties who prefer an attorney advisor but does not guarantee the provision of an advisor who is an attorney. Regardless of the advisor provided, communications will not be privileged in any matter, but TNG advisors respect confidentiality and privacy.
- Most advising is provided off-site, via remote technology (phone, Zoom, Skype, Facetime).
- TNG Hearing Advisors will familiarize themselves with institutional/district policies and procedures.
- TNG Hearing Advisors maintain confidential communication with student and employee clients and will not disclose any information to institutions/districts from an advisee unless release is consented to in writing.
- TNG Hearing Advisors are subcontractors to the institution/district, not employees, and are not “Officials with Authority” or mandated reporters under Title IX.
- Each advisee receives a guide on how to use their Advisor and signs the terms and conditions that come with the Advisory. The institution/district pays for the service, but each advisee is the “Client” of the Advisor.
- The client and the institution/district waive any conflicts that may arise from having two advisors from the same firm serve as advisors to opposing parties in the same case.
- TNG warrants that it erects a complete firewall between its advisors any time they are advising on opposite sides of the same matter, and the advisors do not communicate with each other unless their clients consent to them doing so.
More details are available upon request. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace of mind is important. So is the goodwill of your community.
Contracting with TNG Hearing Advisors today can give you both.