Possible Sanctions

When a student or student organization is found in violation of the Code of Conduct, any of the following types of sanctions may be assigned. Sanctions should be appropriate to the policy violation(s) for which they are assigned. When considering the sanctions to be imposed, a range of factors may be considered, including the:

  • nature, context, and severity of an incident,
  • developmental needs of the student,
  • level of accountability and responsibility taken by the student,
  • level of cooperation from the student,
  • need to stop the misconduct and prevent its recurrence,
  • need to remedy and address the impact or effects of the conduct on others,
  • disciplinary history of the student,
  • best interests of the University community, and
  • any other aggravating, mitigating, or relevant factors.

A student’s use of alcohol or other drugs prior to or in connection with an incident—even if lawfully consumed—will generally be viewed as an aggravating factor. Participation in high risk drinking or drug behavior, including, but not limited to, the participation in drinking games or other excessive abusive or irresponsible patterns of consumptions, are generally seen as additionally aggravating factors.

Where it is reasonably believed that a violation of any University policy has been committed against any person or group because of the person’s or group’s:

  • race
  • color
  • religion
  • national origin
  • sex
  • pregnancy
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity
  • gender expression
  • parental status
  • marital status
  • age
  • disability
  • citizenship
  • veteran status
  • genetic information
  • or any other classification protected by law or policy
  • or because of the perception that a person or group has some such characteristic,

sanctions may be enhanced up to and including separation from the University (e.g., University Suspension, Exclusion, Degree Revocation, Expulsion, or Group Dissolution).

Compliance with all assigned sanctions within the time allocated is mandatory. Failure to complete or comply with any assigned sanction, or failure to meet an assigned deadline (if applicable), may result in further disciplinary action, and/or the placement of a hold on a student’s University account. If a student withdraws or takes a leave from Northwestern prior to the completion of their sanctions, they must complete all assigned sanctions before they will be able to re-enroll.

Disciplinary Sanctions (Group)

Group Dissolution

Group Dissolution is the termination of the group or organization's recognition by the University. This action is a total separation of the group from the University. This includes total restriction on the organization and its members or supporters conducting any activity on the campuses of the University or at off-campus University - associated events that in any way promote the goals, purposes, identity, programs, membership, or activities of the organization. Once dissolved, a group or organization may only reapply for recognition once all current members have left the University community.


Group Suspension

This action is a total separation of the group from the University for a specified period of time. This includes total restriction on the organization and its members or supporters conducting any activity on the campuses of the University or at off-campus University-associated events that in any way promote the goals, purposes, identity, programs, membership, or activities of the organization. Group suspension is typically assigned for a minimum of the remainder of the academic year. Once the suspension period is over, if the group has met all other terms of its sanction, it will be allowed to resume activity as a recognized group.

Group Probation

A status imposed on a student group or organization for a specific period of time to alert the group to the fact that their choices and behaviors are significantly inconsistent with University policy and expectations. During this time, the group is asked to take active steps toward improving the actions of their group and to demonstrate that they can abide by University policy. Any policy violations while a group is on Disciplinary Probation will result in strong consideration of Group Suspension or Group Dissolution. Group Probation will be assigned for a minimum of three months and typically not more than two years. Probation will frequently be accompanied by a Loss or Restriction of Privileges or Activities sanction.

Group Conduct Review

Group Conduct Review indicates that a group's behavior is a significant violation of University policy either because the group has had one significant incident or because the group is beginning to show a pattern of concerning behavior. Conduct Review is imposed for a specific period of time to encourage groups to reflect upon their choices and behavior and to demonstrate the ability to abide by University policies and expectations. During this time, a group’s behaviors will be observed and any policy violations committed during this period will likely result in a heightened level of response and a more significant sanction such as group probation, suspension or dissolution. Conduct Review will be assigned for a minimum of three months and typically a maximum of a year.

Group Formal Warning

Formal notice and censure that a student group’s or organization’s actions violated a University policy, that such actions are not acceptable in our community, and that further misconduct, or any other violation of a University policy, may result in more serious disciplinary action. Student groups and organizations are thus expected to reflect upon their decisions and to be mindful of how their future choices and actions may impact themselves, others, and the University community.

Fine

Fines are punitive monetary costs intended to dissuade student groups from violating the Code of Conduct. Fines collected are used by the University to fund services and programs for students. Fines for student groups and organizations will be assessed to the student group as a whole.

Financial Restitution

Restitution is monetary compensation required of student groups who have taken, misused, damaged, or destroyed University, public, or private property or services. Amounts charged to student groups/organizations may include cost to repair, replace, recover, clean, or otherwise account for the property or services affected. Financial Restitution for student groups and organizations will be assessed to the student group as a whole.

Loss or Restriction of Privileges or Activities

The withdrawal of the use of services or privileges as a student group or organization or the loss of the privilege to participate in an activity or event. Examples include:

  • Restriction on representing Northwestern University in any official capacity;
  • Restriction from participation in University-affiliated programs, events, and/or activities;
  • Restriction on the group’s use of University resources (e.g., ability to receive University affiliated funding, reside in University Housing)
  • Restriction on the group’s entry or access to particular locations, premises, or events;
  • Restriction on the group’s ability to host or participate in programs or events;
  • Restriction in the group’s co-programming with other groups or organizations on campus; and
  • Additional conditions as deemed appropriate by the hearing officer/panel.
Educational, Interventional, & Restorative Sanctions (Individuals & Groups)

Sanctions of an educational, intervening, developmental, restorative, supportive, and sustaining nature will be used to ensure students learn the most from their actions and are best equipped to make better decisions in the future. Options include but are not limited to the following.

Educational Requirements

Participation or completion of a project, class, or other activity to build awareness or knowledge relevant to the nature of the offense or oneself, including research papers, personal reflections, workshops, organizing events, designing community education, or preparing an action plan.

Disciplinary Service Hours

Disciplinary service hours may be assigned, and must be completed (a) at a nonprofit organization, (b) under supervision of an employee or volunteer coordinator who is not a friend or relative of the student, and (c) without payment or other compensation for the work performed. Disciplinary service hours may, but need not, be completed for an office or department of Northwestern University. Disciplinary service hours may not count towards service learning hours or other community service required by another program, scholarship, or organization. Court-mandated community service may count towards disciplinary service hours. Deadlines for disciplinary service hours may vary.

Referrals to Other Offices, Departments, Programs, or Agencies

Attendance at and completion of any educational programs, interventions, or assessments to which a student is referred. This includes referrals to on and off-campus resources for services including, but not limited to, substance-use assessments and interventions and interventions/ education programs for abusive/controlling behaviors.

Mental Health/Medical Assessment and/or Treatment (individual only)

Requirement that a student seeks a mental health, medical, substance use, or threat assessment from Counseling and Psychological Services, Health Services, or other appropriate professional and follows through with the recommendations of the professional.

Restorative Actions

Requiring a student to engage in actions to restore the impact of a violation and repair the harms resulting from misconduct on other members of the community. These actions may include letters of apology, drafting and implementing a plan of resolution, engaging in restorative justice conferences, and developing plans for reintegration.

Parent or Family Notification

Contact with a student’s parents or legal guardians may occur or be required in certain circumstances in connection with a matter involving alleged student misconduct, including when (a) there has been a determination that the student’s use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance constitutes a violation of University policy or any federal, state, or local law and the student is under the age of 21 at the time of disclosure; (b) knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of a student in connection with an emergency; or (c) the disclosure is otherwise authorized by law and University policy.

Notification to National Organization Representatives, Officers, or Advisers (group only)

The organization’s national representative, officers, and/or advisers may be notified of the violation for which the student organization has been found responsible.

Other Reasonable Sanctions

Any reasonable sanction may be assigned that appropriately promotes the education and development of a student or student organization, ensures safety, or otherwise furthers the mission of the Office of Student Conduct.

Disciplinary Sanctions (Individual)

Expulsion

Expulsion is the permanent removal of the student from the University. Expulsion includes forfeiture of all rights and degrees not conferred at the time of the expulsion, withdrawal from all courses, and forfeiture of tuition and fees. A student who has been expelled may not register for classes, submit coursework, receive academic credit, attend classes, remain in University housing, or participate in any function or event sponsored by the University or any of its departments, groups, or organizations (unless specifically authorized by the dean of students, or designee). A student who is expelled is also banned from entering, visiting, or being present on University property or facilities (unless specifically authorized by the dean of students, or designee). A student who has been expelled may never apply to be a student at Northwestern University again.

Degree Revocation

A student’s degree is revoked. Degree revocation includes forfeiture of all rights and responsibilities associated with the degree, and forfeiture of tuition and fees. All restrictions outlined under Expulsion also apply, including the prohibition from applying to be a student at Northwestern University in the future.

Exclusion

Exclusion is exactly as is outlined above for Expulsion with one exception. The exception is that a student who is excluded must be separated from the University for a minimum of two years. After this time, a student may reapply to the University. To re-enroll, an excluded student must receive formal acceptance of their application by the Office of Admission and approval from the vice president for student affairs, or designee. A student who is excluded after having satisfied all degree requirements will not be awarded their degree until two years have passed and (i) they have completed any other conditions imposed for reentry, (ii) reapplied to the University, and (iii) received formal acceptance of their application by the Office of Admission and approval of the vice president for student affairs, or designee. The student may not participate in commencement exercises until the time their degree is conferred.

Suspension

A status, imposed for a minimum of one full academic quarter, in which students are removed from the University and may not register for classes, attend classes, submit coursework, receive academic credit, remain in University housing, or participate in any function or event sponsored by the University or any of its departments, groups, or organizations (unless specifically authorized by the dean of students, or designee). A suspended student may also be banned, during their suspension, from entering, visiting, or being present on University property or facilities (unless specifically authorized by the dean of students, or designee). Suspension may also include the imposition of conditions for re-enrollment. The maximum length of a suspension is two years; however, this may be extended to the planned degree completion date of a reporter to ensure that a respondent is not a student at the same time as a reporter. If a student who has been suspended does not reenroll in the University within two years of the end of the suspension term (or longer if specified), the student may not reenter the University without acceptance of a formal application by the Office of Admission and approval of the vice president for student affairs, or designee (and completion of any other conditions that may have been imposed for reentry). A student who is suspended after having satisfied all degree requirements will not be awarded their degree until the period of suspension is over and they have met all conditions for reenrollment. The student may not participate in commencement exercises until the period of suspension is over and they have been approved to reenroll. In the event a disciplinary suspension and an academic or medical withdrawal occur simultaneously, the leaves of absence are to be effective consecutively, and not concurrently, unless otherwise determined by the hearing officers or panel.

Disciplinary Probation

A status imposed for a specific period of time to alert the student to the fact that their behaviors are substantially inconsistent with University policy and expectation. During this time, students are asked to take active steps toward improving their decisions and behaviors and to demonstrate that they can abide by University policy and succeed as a member of the Northwestern community. Any policy violation while the student is on disciplinary probation, will result in strong consideration of whether the student is a good fit for the Northwestern community and of whether separation from the University (i.e., suspension, exclusion, expulsion) is necessary. Probation will frequently be accompanied by a Loss or Restriction of Privileges or Activities sanction (see below). Disciplinary probation may impact other opportunities for which a student’s disciplinary record is considered as a criterion for participation.

Conduct Review

Conduct Review indicates that a student’s behavior is a significant violation of University policy either because the student has had one significant incident or because the student is beginning to show a pattern of concerning behavior. Conduct Review is imposed for a specific period of time to encourage students to reflect upon their choices and behavior and to demonstrate the ability to abide by University policies and expectations. During this time, a student’s behaviors will be observed and any policy violations committed during this period will likely result in a heightened level of response and a more significant sanction such as disciplinary probation or separation from the University. Conduct Review will be assigned for a minimum of three months and typically a maximum of a year.

Though Conduct Review does not place any formal restriction on a student’s privileges or activities, it may impact opportunities for which a student’s disciplinary record is considered as a criterion for participation.

University Warning

Formal notice that a student’s actions violated a University policy, that such actions are not acceptable in our community, and that further misconduct, or any other violation of a University policy, may result in more impactful disciplinary action. Students are thus expected to reflect upon their decisions and to be mindful of how their future choices and actions may impact themselves, others, and the University community.

Fine

Fines are punitive monetary costs intended to dissuade students from violating the Code of Conduct. Fines collected are used by the University to fund services and programs for students.

Financial Restitution

Restitution is monetary compensation required of students who have taken, misused, damaged, or destroyed University, public, or private property or services. Amounts charged to students may include the cost to repair, replace, recover, clean, or otherwise account for the property or services affected.

Loss or Restriction of Privileges or Activities

The withdrawal of the use of services or privileges as a student or member of the community, or the loss of the privilege to participate in an activity or event. Examples include:
Restriction on representing Northwestern University in any official capacity;
Restriction from holding positions of leadership in any University - recognized student group or organization or from being hired by University departments to serve in leadership roles; Restriction from attendance at University events or activities;

  • Restriction on use of University resources;
  • Restriction on entry or access to particular locations, premises, or events;
  • Restriction on contact with another member or group of members of the University community;
  • Restriction on ability to study abroad; and
  • Additional conditions as deemed appropriate by the hearing officer/panel.

Restrictions on Access or Contact

Restrictions or prohibitions on a student's entry or access to particular locations, premises, or events, or on a student's contact with another member of the University community