Grievance Procedure

Statement of University Policy Regarding Non-Discrimination

Northwestern University does not discriminate or permit discrimination by any member of its community against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, marital status, age, disability, citizenship, or veteran status in matters of admissions, employment, housing, or services or in the educational programs or activities it operates. It is also Northwestern University policy to ensure that no qualified student with a disability (one who has provided documentation of disability and is registered with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities) is denied the benefits of, excluded from participation in, or otherwise subjected to discrimination in any University program or activity. In response to a request made by a qualified student with a documented disability, the University will arrange, at no cost to the student, for the provision of educational auxiliary aids, including note-takers, materials in e-text or audio format, sign language interpreters and captioning services, and assistance in activity relocation that the University determines are necessary to afford the student with a disability the opportunity for full participation in University programs.

Informal Complaint and Formal Grievance Procedures

If a University student believes any University employee has discriminated against him or her because of a disability, he or she has the right to seek a review of such concerns. Students have the option of pursuing either an informal complaint or a formal grievance. If a student opts to pursue an informal complaint, he or she may later pursue a formal grievance if not satisfied with the resolution of the informal process.

Description of Informal Complaint Procedure

It is recommended but not required that the student speak first about the concerns to his or her department chair, program coordinator, or a dean in his or her school. As a result of these discussions, including the development of strategies for empowering the student to deal with the situation him or herself or having the person who has received the grievance take it under review, a satisfactory resolution may be readily found. A student who is uncertain about filing a formal grievance may consult informally with the Director of SSD or the individual designated by the Vice President of Student Affairs (designee).

Description of Formal Grievance Procedure

A student who wishes to file a formal grievance may do so in writing over his or her signature with the designee. If the subject of the grievance is the actions of the designee, or if the designee has previously advised the student informally on the matter, the formal grievance should instead be filed with the Director of Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services. The purpose of the review is to determine whether University policy has been followed and, if not, to address any resulting consequences and take appropriate corrective action. Information relevant to the matter may be requested from the involved parties. The designee or the Director of Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services will promptly undertake an investigation and provide a written finding to the student upon completion of the review.

A student who makes use of the grievance procedure shall not be retaliated against for doing so. A student may choose another student or a member of the faculty or staff to accompany him or her through the steps of the procedure. A student who believes that a grievance has not been resolved to his or her satisfaction upon completion of the review of the student's grievance may appeal the outcome to the Provost. Such appeal shall be in writing and signed by the student. The Provost will make a determination on the appeal and promptly inform the student in writing of that determination.