Students and employees may select one Support Person of their choice to accompany them to any meetings related to concerns of protected identity discrimination or harassment, including sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. This applies to initial meetings with our team as well as any interviews and subsequent meetings. Additionally, in the Equity Resolution Process, Support Persons may be present during the hearing (if applicable). In hearings under Title IX, Support Persons may only be present at a hearing when they are also serving as an Advisor (link).
What purpose does a Support Person serve?
It is not uncommon for people to feel distressed, anxious, or apprehensive during meetings related to a complaint, and many find a Support Person comforting and encouraging. Your Support Person may provide emotional support to you during meetings and consult with you quietly or in writing, and talk with you privately during any breaks. Your Support Person may also ask us any questions they may have about the investigation and resolution process.
In their role as your Support Person, the individual you choose should:
- Provide emotional support and reassurance for you
- Observe the meetings, assist with clarifying the process, and take notes
- Quietly prompt or advise you, including requesting a break if needed
- Understand and maintain the privacy of the parties and witnesses as much as possible
What are the limitations of a Support Person?
Your Support Person cannot make a presentation on your behalf or otherwise represent you during any meetings; they cannot speak for you or answer questions posed to you by our team.
In their role as your Support Person, the individual you choose should not:
- Answer questions, present information, or defend you during the meeting(s)
- Advocate for you or your interests
- Obstruct or distract from the meeting
Who can serve as a Support Person?
You may choose any person to act as your Support Person, including a parent or other family member, a friend, a trusted colleague, an advocate, or an attorney. Because your Support Person serves to assist you through the process, you can choose to change your Support Person at any time, or choose to proceed without a Support Person.
When an individual serves as your Support Person, they should know:
- All formal Notices will be directed to the party’s UMKC email address (or postal mailing address, if the party so chooses), although the Support Person may be copied if a Release of Information is submitted by the party (see below)
- It is not the responsibility of our team to ensure a party’s Support Person is included on or aware of any communication between the party and our team
- Should a party wish to include their Support Person in communication, they will need to forward or otherwise share the communication with the Support Person
- At any time, a party may choose to communicate with our team without including their Support Person, and it is not the responsibility of our team to ensure the party intended to do so or to alert the Support Person to the communication
To allow us to share information with your Support Person, please submit a Release of Information (link). Please note that it is University policy not to accept a release of student or employee records over the phone.
What if I don’t have a Support Person?
UMKC will provide, without fee or charge, a trained Support Person of the University’s choice to provide assistance to you related to making a report, filing a formal complaint, or participating in an investigation or resolution process. You should contact the Title IX Coordinator/Equity Officer (link) as soon as you determine that you would like the University to provide a Support Person. These Support Persons cannot be called upon as witnesses to provide testimony about information learned while acting as a Support Person.
What happens if my Support Person does not follow the Rules of Decorum?
Support Persons who do not follow the Rules of Decorum (link) will be warned or dismissed from any meetings at the discretion of any member of our team.