Policy on Sexual Harassment and Additional Guidance

Northwestern University's Policy on Sexual Harassment

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, 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 in matters of admissions, employment, housing, or ser- vices 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, inter- fering unreasonably with an individual’s academic or work perfor- mance, or creating what a reasonable person would perceive is an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Prohibited sex discrimination includes sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Some examples of sexual 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
  • Teasing or practical jokes directed at a person based on his or her protected status
  • Jokes or epithets about a person’s 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 discrimi- nation (including sexual harassment and sexual violence) based on sex in the University’s educational programs and activities. Title IX also prohibits retaliation for asserting or otherwise participat- ing in claims of sex discrimination. Northwestern has designated Title IX coordinators, listed under People Who Can Help section of this website,” to coordinate Northwestern’s compliance with and response to inquiries concerning Title IX.

For more information about Title IX, please go to www.northwestern.edu /provost/policies/title-ix/index.html. A person may also file a com- plaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights regarding an alleged violation of Title IX by visiting http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html or calling 800-421-3481.

Policy on Sexual Harassment

It is the policy of Northwestern University that no member of the Northwestern community—students, faculty, administrators, staff, vendors, contractors, or third parties—may sexually harass any other member of the community. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, which includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances; the use or threatened use of sexual favors as a basis for academic or employment decisions; conduct that creates a hostile, intimidating, or offensive academic or working environment; conduct that has the effect of unreason- ably interfering with an individual’s work performance; and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive to limit a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity. Sexual harassment is a type of conduct prohibited under the University’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Stalking, and Dating and Domestic Violence, which can be found at www.northwestern.edu/policies.

Sexual Violence Statement

Sexual violence is a prohibited form of sexual harassment. Sexual violence includes physical sexual acts perpetrated against a per- son’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to use of drugs and/or alcohol or to an intellectual or other disability. Some examples of sexual violence may include rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual coercion, dating violence, and domestic violence. Please see Northwestern's Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Stalking, and Dating and Domestic Violence at www.northwestern.edu/policies.

Additional Guidance

Investigation and Confidentiality

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

Retaliation

The University prohibits retaliation against anyone for regis- tering 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 People Who Can Help section of this website.

Resolution

If a complaint of discrimination, harassment, or sexual harass- ment 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.

Reporting

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.

  • The University strongly encourages individuals to report inci- dents of discrimination or harassment to one of the individuals listed under People Who Can Help section of this website.
  • Individuals in supervisory or teaching positions who have been told about or witnessed conduct that may violate these policies are obligated to report it.
  • All University employees (including student employees), as well as nonemployees with teaching or supervisory authority, are obligated to report sexual misconduct of which they become aware, unless they have a recognized confidentiality privilege.

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 People Who Can Help if any of the following occurs:

  • You believe you have been subjected to conduct or comments that may violate these policies;
  • You believe you have been retaliated against in violation of these policies; or
  • You have been told about or witnessed conduct that 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 People Who Can 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 People Who Can 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:

If you think you may have offended or harassed someone:

  • Don't assume others will tell you when they feel offended or harassed by what you say and do.
  • Examine how others respond to what you say and do.
  • Apologize as soon as possible.
  • Change your behavior.

What You Should Know About Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Harassment