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New Policies Announced

Message from the Office of the Provost

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January 17, 2014

Following is a message delivered to the Northwestern University community by Office of the Provost.

We are pleased to share two new University policies with you. Each of these policies has been in development for some time, and members of the Northwestern community have provided valuable input throughout the process.

The first policy, entitled Consensual Romantic or Sexual Relationships Between Faculty, Staff and Students, expands our former policies that prohibited Northwestern faculty and staff from having evaluative authority over persons with whom they are romantically or sexually involved. Our expanded policy helps ensure that Northwestern’s academic, research and all other University environments remain free from real or apparent conflicts when individuals in positions of unequal power at the University are involved in consensual romantic or sexual relationships. With this expanded policy, Northwestern joins a growing number of peer institutions in prohibiting faculty and coaches from engaging in romantic, dating, or sexual relationships with Northwestern undergraduate students, regardless of whether there is a supervisory or evaluative relationship between them. As was stated in the former policy, relationships between graduate students and their faculty supervisors are prohibited. The new policy also provides that relationships between a faculty member and a graduate or professional student in the same department or program must be disclosed to the department chair so that a plan to manage the potential conflict of interest can be developed. Other types of relationships are also addressed in this new policy, which can be viewed here.

The second policy is entitled Sexual Misconduct, Stalking, and Dating and Domestic Violence. Northwestern is committed to fostering an environment in which all members of our community are safe, secure, and free from sexual misconduct of any form, including, but not limited to, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, and dating and domestic violence. The new policy also incorporates Northwestern’s current sexual harassment policy. This policy, which we believe exemplifies best practices under Title IX and the new Violence Against Women Act Amendments, is applicable to students, faculty, staff, and others in the Northwestern community. A key point of this policy is that, unless exempted by a specific, recognized privilege, all faculty and staff are obligated to report sexual misconduct of which they become aware to one of the offices listed in the policy. Information on available counseling, medical, and advocacy services for all Northwestern community members is also contained in this policy, which can be viewed here.

- Daniel Linzer, Provost

- Patricia Telles-Irvin, Vice President for Student Affairs

- Pam Beemer, Associate Vice President for Human Resources

Topics: University News