Judicial Counselor Guidelines
Who Judicial Counselors Are
The Student Judicial Charter of 1997, specifies that a responding student or a reporting party have the right “To be given access to a list of impartial and confidential volunteer Judicial Counselors who may be consulted for advice and guidance during judicial procedures.”
What Judicial Counselors Do
The Student Judicial Charter of 1997, states that "Judicial Counselors are trained, current or former members of a Judicial Panel Pool or others who agree, on a voluntary basis, to provide confidential assistance to responding students and reporting parties in cases in which they are not involved as a member of a Judicial Panel."
In general, the goal of a Judicial Counselor is to give confidential support and provide the responding student or reporting party with someone to whom he or she can speak candidly.
Defining Your Role
- Your role is to help the student, or reporting party, understand the judicial process and/or the possible implications of their behavior or evidence.
- Your service is voluntary. If you are contacted and do not feel comfortable, or do not have time to serve, as a Judicial Counselor, you may decline the request. If a student or reporting party asks you questions you do not feel comfortable answering—tell him/her so.
- Your contact with a student or reporting party is confidential. The Office of Community Standards (OCS) will not ask about the nature or details of your conversations. Likewise, OCS cannot disclose information or details of the case to you without the student's written consent.
- If you are a current panelist, please simply notify the OCS that you are serving as a Judicial Counselor for the person, so that you will not be seated on the Judicial Panel that hears the case if it goes to a hearing.
- Please remember that both the Judicial Advisor (JA) and the Judicial Officer (JO) will help prepare the student (and reporting party) for a hearing. If the person has questions regarding procedures or concerns about how he/she can best present his/her case, please encourage him/her to talk to the appropriate OCS staff about issues and options. You can be involved in these discussions, but—again—only with written permission.
- More about the role of the Judicial Advisor (JA) in the Student Judicial Charter.
- More about the role of the Judicial Officer (JO) in the Student Judicial Charter.
- You are not the prosecutor (and, actually, that role does not exist in Stanford's student judicial process).
- You are not the student’s defender (as that role does not exist either).
Tips and Suggestions
- Do not make any promises. Remember that you will not be involved in any decisions about this case.
- Never suggest what you think the JO or a Judicial Panel should do with a specific case.
- Remember that you are only hearing one side of the story and may be hearing a biased view of the evidence.
- Please feel free to draw upon your experiences, but recognize they may be limited, based on the number and type of cases you have heard.
- It is never appropriate for you to contact anyone who is involved in the case directly (responding student, reporting party, witnesses, etc.). If you recommend that the student or reporting party ask questions of someone involved in the case, please ask him/her to talk to the JA or JO about how to do that appropriately.
- If the student or reporting party asks you questions about evidence or the meaning of a specific allegation or charge, always suggest that he/she verify your answers with the JO in case you are missing any information.
- If the student or reporting party asks you about the process or sanctions, always suggest that he/she confirm your answers with the JA in case you are missing any information.
- You may provide practical and emotional support. Feel free to refer people to appropriate campus resources.
- If you feel comfortable commenting on a student’s written statement or a reporting party's written submission, you may do so, but please do not edit the statement or submission, as it should fully reflect the student’s/reporting party's own ideas and words.
- If you cannot answer questions, or do not feel you can give good advice without seeing the evidence, tell the student/reporting party so. If you would like to see the evidence, or talk to the JA or JO about the case, you may ask the student/reporting party to give written permission to the Office of Community Standards. Note: the individual you are counseling may or may not want to give you such authorization.
- Ask open-ended questions and do not make assumptions.
- It is fine to tell a student or reporting party the types of questions you would ask, if you were a panelist.
- If you have questions about your role as a Judicial Counselor, please contact the Office of Community Standards at 650-725-2485.