Rights and Responsibilities

Rights & Responsibilities of the University Community

Becoming a member of the Northwestern University community is an honor, a privilege that carries with it prestige and respect. The University affords students a number of rights that are fundamental to membership in our shared community. But along with these privileges and rights, membership also requires students to meet and uphold community standards.

Remaining a member of the Northwestern community requires a student to continuously comply with rules and regulations governing students’ academic progress, social interactions, and personal behavior. As stated in one University policy, “Student status at Northwestern is a privilege earned by meeting standards of academic performance and adherence to regulations governing conduct.”

University-enacted rules and regulations are found in several sources, including but not limited to the Undergraduate Catalog, the Graduate School Bulletin, the undergraduate and graduate housing bulletins, the residence hall contract, the University’s web site, notices disseminated from time to time by the University or its schools and departments, and (most comprehensively) the Student Handbook.

The exercise of individual rights by students and other members of the Northwestern community may not abridge the following rights, subject, in appropriate circumstances, to the University’s right to take actions to protect the health and safety of the University community and its members, guests, and visitors.

  1. The right of a faculty or staff member to exclude from a classroom or other University premises, during the progress of a class or other University-sponsored program or activity, persons not enrolled in the class or other unauthorized persons.
  2. The right to privacy of a student or faculty or staff member in his or her office or other work area or lodging.
  3. The right of the University to take actions reasonably determined to secure the rights outlined above and to assure that students, faculty, and staff may pursue their legitimate goals on University premises or at University functions without interference.

Student Rights & Responsibilities in the Student Conduct Process

Basic rights associated with the student conduct process:

  • Students have the right to a reasonable expectation of privacy in their rooms and residences
  • Students have the right not to incriminate themselves when speaking to University officials or police or during investigations or hearings regarding alleged misconduct
  • Students have the right to a fair and impartial adjudication of alleged misconduct
  • Students have the right to have a representative present with them throughout the UHAS and SAHAS processes
  • Students have the right to seek at review or appeal of any decision finding them in violation of university rules, regulations, or policies


  • Students have the responsibility to comply with all Northwestern rules, regulations, and policies, as well as federal, state, and local laws and ordinances
  • Students have the responsibility to comply with Northwestern staff members and police acting in the scope of their duties
  • Students have the responsibility to meet and cooperate with University officials who are investigating alleged incidents of misconduct
  • Students have the responsibility to be honest and truthful in all statements to University staff members and police (subject to their right against self-incrimination)
  • Students have the responsibility to comply with all sanctions and obligations imposed as a result of a student conduct matter

Additional Resources

For additional information, please see the following resources: