Reports and Initial Inquiry

The student conduct process begins when the Office of Student Conduct receives a report or a referral. 

Reports of Alleged Misconduct

The University encourages anyone with knowledge of an alleged violation of University policy to report the information to the University. Reports can be submitted in the following ways:

  • Reports of alleged violations of University policy by Northwestern students can be submitted to the OSC. A link to file a report online can be found on the OSC web page (www.northwestern.edu/student-conduct). Reports can also be submitted by contacting the office at student-conduct@northwestern.edu or 847-491-4582.
  • Reports of alleged violations of the Northwestern Policy on Sexual Misconduct by students can be made to the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students in the Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention. Information on filing reports can be found on the web page: http://www.northwestern.edu/sexual-misconduct/
  • Reports of alleged bias or hate related incidents can be reported to the Bias Incident Response Team. Information on filing reports can be found on the web page: http://www.northwestern.edu/inclusion/respectnu/birt/

The OSC also commonly receives incident reports through University entities including but not limited to Residential Services, Northwestern University Police Department, and Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, as well as the other law enforcement agencies.
While anonymous incident reports will be reviewed by the OSC, the University’s ability to address alleged misconduct reported by anonymous sources is significantly limited; therefore, anonymous reports are discouraged.

Initial Inquiry

When a report is received, a student conduct administrator designated by the Office of Student Conduct will gather information regarding the alleged incident in order to determine the appropriate means of resolution. During the initial inquiry, the administrator will review all available information related to a report. Based on the information available, the level of detail known about an incident, the interest and willingness of a reporter to participate in the student conduct process, and whether the report is related to a University policy, the administrator will determine the appropriate path for each case: Available options include:

  • Close the Case: In order for a case to be referred for informal or formal resolution, there must be sufficient information to believe a policy violation may have occurred and the alleged individual/group may be responsible. The OSC may close cases when insufficient information exists to move forward or when the alleged misconduct—even if substantiated— would not be a violation of policy. The OSC may, in its discretion, reopen a case in the future if additional information becomes available or if a reporter who was previously unwilling to pursue formal resolution changes their mind (consistent with the time limitations outlined above).
  • Informal Resolution: Informal resolution involves action taken by the University in response to a situation or report of violation of University policy when formal resolution is not desired by the reporter or when there is not enough information to proceed with a formal resolution process.
  • Formal Resolution: The conduct administrator may determine that there is reasonable information to suggest a policy violation may have occurred. In these cases, the conduct administrator will refer the case to formal resolution for further investigation and formal resolution.
  • Summary Resolution: Summary resolution involves administrative action taken when exigent circumstanced require immediate action to protect the welfare safety of the University community.

Additionally, the OSC administrator will determine whether interim actions should be taken while the case is pending. Interim actions may include measures taken prior to the formal resolution to ensure the safety and security of the campus community.