Effects of a Conduct Record

Will a conduct record affect a student's future plans?

In most cases it should not, but some incidents may have longer-term effects.

Under our Retention and Reporting of Disciplinary Records policy, a student’s disciplinary record will not be reported to external third-parties (graduate schools, employers, licensing agencies, etc.) unless the incident resulted in suspension or exclusion from the University or we are legally required to do so. (Keep in mind, however, that many applications ask students to self-disclose all their disciplinary incidents while at Northwestern.)

Additionally, other campus offices and departments (Study Abroad, Residential Life, Orientation, Norris, etc.) occasionally request information regarding the disciplinary history of students applying for their programs or positions. For these (and other) internal Northwestern offices, we will report all infractions of University rules for their consideration.

Non-academic disciplinary action is not included on a student’s transcript, even if the incident results in suspension or exclusion.

How could having a conduct record affect a student's time at Northwestern?

To determine if students are eligible to hold certain campus leadership positions or to participate in various programs, campus offices routinely request information from the Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution (formerly Judicial Affairs) about students' conduct records. This includes the following positions and programs:

Our office will generally share a summary of a student's complete conduct record at Northwestern (that is, those incidents where a student has been found in violation of a University rule, regulation or policy). It is up to the office requesting the information to make the final determination about a student's eligibility to participate in the program or position.

Generally speaking, students who have serious or repeated conduct and/or academic violations or who are placed on any kind of probation that extends into the period in which they would study abroad or hold a position will have their records reviewed by the requesting office and may be deemed ineligible for the program or position.

(Additionally, a student's parents or guardians may be contacted with regard to incidents that involve alcohol or drugs or impact the student's health or safety.)

How could having a conduct record affect an alum after leaving Northwestern?

Many applications - for graduate/professional school, employment opportunities, and professional licenses (e.g., bar exam, medical licenses, government security clearances) - require that an individual disclose incidents that involved formal disciplinary action at Northwestern (and all other educational institutions). Additionally, many external third-parties will request information from our office about the disciplinary history of our students or alumni, generally through our Dean Certification/Background Check process.

The Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution (formerly Judicial Affairs) will notify external third-parties (like employers, grad schools, and licensing agencies) of incidents in which a student is suspended or excluded from the University for conduct reasons. We would not report any other conduct incidents unless required by law (i.e., subpoena or court order).

Thus, conduct infractions by a student at Northwestern could have an impact on grad school admission, future employment opportunites, and professional licensing and credentials.