Policy Statement on Student Rights and Responsibilities

At Northwestern University, life outside the classroom is an integral part of the educational process. The exercise of responsibility is an important part of the development of the full potential of the student as an individual and as a citizen. The student’s awareness of the extent of his or her rights and responsibilities is necessary to the exercise of responsibility within the University community. To further these objectives and in recognition of students as members of the Northwestern University community, the University has adopted the following statement of policy.

This policy statement has been formulated in a spirit of cooperation and community by representatives of students, faculty, and administration. It is a living document and thus is subject to change through participation of representatives of the same groups who participated in the original formulation.

  1. 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.
  2. The student has freedom of research, of legitimate classroom discussion, and of the advocacy of alternative opinions to those presented in the classroom.
  3. The student will be evaluated on knowledge and academic performance for purposes of granting academic credit and not on the basis of personal or political beliefs.
  4. The teacher-student relationship within the classroom is confidential, and disclosures of a student’s personal or political beliefs expressed in connection with course work will not be made public without explicit permission of the student. It is understood that the teacher may undertake the usual evaluation of knowledge and academic performance.
  5. Students’ records may be released to persons outside the University only on request of the student or through compliance with applicable laws.
  6. Information on rules, rates, and regulations deriving from contractual agreements with the University will be made available to students on request.
  7. The University will not act in derogation of the rights of students to be secure in their possessions. Students will be secure against invasion of privacy and unreasonable search and seizure.
  8. Students will be free from censorship in the publication and dissemination of their views as long as these are not represented as the views of Northwestern University.
  9. Student publications are free from any official action controlling editorial policy. Publications shall not bear the name of the University or purport to issue from it without University approval.
  10. Students are free to form, join, and participate in any group for intellectual, religious, social, economic, political, or cultural purposes.
  11. A student is free, individually or in association with other individuals, to engage in all campus activities, exercising the right of a citizen of the community, state, and nation, provided he or she does not in any way purport to represent the University.
  12. Students are free to use campus facilities for meetings of student-chartered campus organizations, subject to regulations as to time and manner governing the facility.
  13. Students may invite and hear speakers of their choice on subjects of their choice, and approval will not be withheld by University officers for the purpose of censorship.
  14. Students will have their views and welfare considered in the formation of University policy and will be consulted by or represented on University committees that affect students as members of the University community.
  15. Students are free to assemble, to demonstrate, to communicate, and to protest, recognizing that freedom requires order, discipline, and responsibility and further recognizing the right of all faculty and students to pursue their legitimate goals without interference.
  16. Students will be exempt from disciplinary action or dismissal from the University except for academic failure, failure to pay a University debt, or violation of a student or University rule or regulation. Rules and regulations shall be fully and clearly promulgated in advance of the supposed violation. The University has no legal authority over a student when outside University property, except where the student is on the property of a University-affiliated institution, where the student is engaged in a project, seminar, or class for academic credit, or as otherwise provided in University rules, regulations, and procedures or on property that falls within the jurisdiction of University Police. A student is subject to local, state, and federal statutes.
  17. A student is free to be present on campus and to attend classes pending action on criminal or civil charges, except for reasons relating to his or her physical or emotional safety and well-being or for reasons relating to the safety and well-being of students, faculty, staff, or University property.
  18. It is recognized that every member of the community has the responsibility to conduct him- or herself in a manner that does not violate the rights and freedoms of others and has the responsibility to recognize the principles within this statement of policy.