Policies, Procedures, and Campus Safety

For the safety and well-being of Northwestern students, faculty, and staff as well as the entire Evanston community, the University enforces all federal, state, and local laws and makes campus safety a top priority.

Policies and Procedures

Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) , all students have certain rights with regard to their educational records. Likewise, colleges and universities have certain obligations when it comes to releasing information contained in students' educational records (including grades and disciplinary matters) to third parties, including parents. For a more detailed explanation of FERPA, consult the Office of the Registrar's web site.

Student Disciplinary System

In cases of alleged disciplinary violations, staff in the Division of Student Affairs will meet with the student or students involved to discuss the conduct at issue and to determine what sanctions, if any, are appropriate. The charged individual(s) may accept any proposed administrative sanctions or may request that the matter be resolved through the University Hearing and Appeals System (UHAS) or the Sexual Assault Hearing and Appeals System (SAHAS), the campus judicial processes.

UHAS student-faculty boards seek to resolved conflicts or disciplinary complaints that have not been resolved by residence hall staff or advisers or on a person-to-person basis. In UHAS the University or a student may file a complaint against another student. Examples of violations include excessive noise, physical abuse, property theft or damage, unauthorized entry to University facilities, and disruption. Cases involving academic dishonesty are resolved by the deans of the schools. Penalties for any of the above may include disciplinary probation, suspension, or exclusion from Northwestern. For further information, please consult the  Student Handbook 2011-2012 or the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.

University Policy on Drugs and Alcohol

Most college freshmen have been exposed to alcohol and drugs and have made decisions about whether or not and under what circumstances they use these substances. Your son or daughter will encounter peer pressure to drink, so you should discuss how he or she is going to deal with this issue in a new environment.

Students at Northwestern are subject to Illinois law, which prohibits the sale of alcohol to any person under the age of 21 and the possession of liquor by any person under 21. Illinois law also provides penalties for selling or furnishing to any person under the age of 21 any false or fraudulent written, printed, or photostatic evidence of the age and identity of such person or of any other person. In addition, Illinois has severe penalties for the use of a fake driver's license or ID.

The misuse of alcohol and the illegal use of narcotics or other controlled substances are serious threats to the health of the user and to the well-being and safety of members of our community. Students involved in alcohol- or drug-related incidents may face legal and disciplinary actions. In addition, they may be required to undergo evaluation by a substance-abuse counselor and, if appropriate, a mandatory program of education and/or treatment. Students who repeatedly engage in such incidents or who fail to follow prescribed treatment shall face further disciplinary sanctions, including, but not limited to, probation, suspension, and exclusion from University housing (residence halls, residential colleges and fraternity/sorority houses).

Campus Safety

While many of us like to think of a university campus as a haven from the pressures and problems of modern-day living, the days of this kind of insulation are past. There are many advantages to Northwestern's urban/suburban location, but the University is not immune to the potential problems such a location presents. Any parent may contact the Dean of Students with a concern about safety.

University Police (UP)

University Police employs well-trained officers who provide many services, including crime prevention, law enforcement, parking control, special-event policing, and emergency management. Most University Police officers hold college degrees; all are police academy graduates with full law-enforcement authority. The office is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Numerous readily accessible indoor and outdoor emergency phones connect directly with University Police from all parts of the campus.

Violent crime in the area is relatively rare; the principal campus problem by far is theft. While much attention has been given to promoting safety in the physical environment, the key to safety on campus is student awareness. University Police officers speak to all new students, discussing crime prevention and ways in which each student can contribute to security in the residence halls and take the proper precautions to ensure personal safety.

Insurance Coverage for Theft of Personal Property

Students living on campus are encouraged to check their parents' homeowners insurance policy to determine if it covers theft of their belongings on campus. It is important to note that insurance provided by the University covers University-owned property only. Property owned by faculty, staff, and students must be covered by the owners of the property. The University is not responsible for property it does not own.