At Northwestern University, the health, safety, and welfare of our students and community are paramount concerns. As such, all Northwestern students are expected to intervene or interrupt harmful behavior or speech that you witness.
Examples of bystander intervention
- Confronting people who seclude, hit on, try to make out with, or have sex with people who are incapacitated;
- Speaking up when someone discusses plans to take sexual advantage of another person;
- Calling police when a person is yelling at another and it is not safe for you to interrupt;
- Interjecting yourself into a conversation where another person seems unsafe;
- Refusing to leave the area (or call police) if a person is trying to get you to leave so they can take advantage of another;
- Speaking up with people use racist, sexist, homophobic, or other harmful language;
- Offering to drive an incapacitated friend home from a party;
- Ensuring friends who are incapacitated do not leave the party or go to secluded places with others.
Reporting incidents that violate the Student Code of Conduct
Northwestern students are expected to alert appropriate officials in the event of any health or safety emergency – specifically including those involving the abuse of alcohol or drugs – even if violations of the Student Code of Conduct may have occurred in connection with such an emergency.
Because fear of possible disciplinary actions may deter requests for emergency assistance, the University has adopted the following Responsible Action Protocol (RAP) to alleviate student concerns and promote responsible actions.
In a situation involving imminent threat or danger to the health or safety of any individual(s), students are generally expected:
- To contact emergency officials by calling 911 to report the incident
- To remain with the individual(s) needing emergency treatment and cooperate with emergency officials, so long as it is safe to do so
- To meet with appropriate University officials after the incident and cooperate with any University investigation
The University will consider the positive impact of taking responsible action in an emergency situation when determining the appropriate response for alleged policy violations that may have occurred by the reporting student prior to or contemporaneously with the emergency situation.
- In some such situations, this may mean that no University disciplinary action is taken or no disciplinary sanctions are imposed, but the incident will be documented and educational, community, and health initiatives – as well as contact with a student’s parents or family – may be required.
- The protocol does not preclude or prevent action by police or other legal authorities.
- Failure of students to take responsible actions in an emergency situation, however, may void all protections under this provision, may constitute an aggravating factor for purposes of sanctioning, and may lead to further disciplinary actions when such failure to act otherwise constitutes a violation of University rules, regulations or policies.
For more information about the Responsible Action Protocol, please see the following: