Policy on Discrimination and Harassment and Title IX Statement

This policy applies to all members of Northwestern’s community, and includes, but is not limited to:  staff, faculty, students, applicants for both University employment and academic admission, vendors, contractors, and third parties.

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, veteran status, or genetic information in matters of admissions, employment, housing, or services or in the educational programs or activities it operates.

Harassment, whether verbal, physical, or visual, that is based on any of these characteristics is a form of discrimination. This includes harassing conduct affecting tangible job benefits, interfering unreasonably with an individual's academic or work performance, or creating what a reasonable person would perceive is an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Prohibited sex discrimination includes sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Examples of discrimination and harassment may include:

  • Refusing to hire or promote someone because of the person's protected status
  • Demoting or terminating someone because of the person's protected status
  • Jokes or epithets about a person's protected status
  • Teasing or practical jokes directed at a person based on his or her protected status
  • Displaying or circulating written materials or pictures that degrade a person or group
  • Verbal abuse or insults about, directed at, or made in the presence of an individual or group of individuals in a protected group

Title IX Statement

It is the policy of Northwestern University to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination (including sexual harassment and sexual violence) based on sex in the University's educational programs and activities. Title IX also prohibits retaliation for asserting claims of sex discrimination. Northwestern has designated Title IX Coordinators, listed under "Where to Get Advice and Help," to coordinate Northwestern's compliance with and response to inquiries concerning Title IX. A person may also file a written complaint with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights regarding an alleged violation of Title IX by visiting www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html or calling 1-800-421-3481.

Investigation and Confidentiality

All reports describing conduct that is inconsistent with these policies will be promptly and thoroughly investigated. Complaints about violations of these policies will be handled discreetly, with facts made available only to those who need to know to investigate and resolve the matter.


The University prohibits retaliation against anyone for registering a complaint pursuant to these policies, assisting another in making a complaint, or participating in an investigation under the policies.  Anyone experiencing any conduct that he or she believes to be retaliatory should immediately report it to one of the individuals listed under "Where to Get Advice and Help". 


If a complaint of discrimination, harassment, or sexual harassment is found to be substantiated, appropriate corrective action will follow, up to and including separation of the offending party from the University, consistent with University procedure.

Your Responsibilities

All members of the University community are responsible for creating a working, learning and living environment that is free of discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment. It is important to contact one of the individuals listed under “Where to Get Advice and Help” if any of the following occurs:

  1. You believe you have been subjected to conduct or comments that may violate these policies;
  2. You believe you have been retaliated against in violation of these policies; or
  3. You hold a supervisory, managerial, or teaching position and have been told about or witnessed conduct that you think may violate these policies.

Vendors, Contractors and Third Parties

The University's policies on discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment apply to the conduct of vendors, contractors and third parties. If a member of the University community believes that he or she has been subjected to conduct by a vendor, contractor or third party that violates these policies, the community member should contact one of the individuals listed under “Where to Get Advice and Help.” The University will respond as appropriate, given the nature of its relationship to the vendor, contractor or third party.

Academic Freedom

While Northwestern University is committed to the principles of free inquiry and free expression, discrimination and harassment identified in this policy are neither legally protected expression nor the proper exercise of academic freedom.

If you believe you have been discriminated against or harassed:

Contact one of the individuals listed under “Where to get Advice and Help.”
Don't blame yourself.
Don't delay reporting a problem.
Consider keeping a written, dated record of events.

If you witness or become aware of possible discriminatory or harassing conduct by others:

Contact one of the individuals listed under “Where to get Advice and Help.”