Northwestern Policies Related to Sexual Harassment

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Sexual Harassment

It is the policy of Northwestern University that no member of the Northwestern community – students, staff, faculty, or administrators – may sexually harass any other member of the community. Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute harassment when:

The website of the University Sexual Harassment Prevention Office (USHPO) provides detailed information on NU’s Policy on Sexual Harassment, procedures related to sexual harassment complaints, and other information related to sexual harassment. 

Evaluative Authority Over Faculty or Staff

No faculty member may have evaluative authority in such matters as employment, compensation, promotion, or termination over another faculty member or an employee, who is the faculty member's spouse, domestic partner, relative or an individual with whom the faculty member is having or has recently concluded a sexual relationship. For purposes of this policy, a relative is a blood relation, in-law, step or adoptive relative, as close as or closer than nephew or niece. 

When a situation occurs that potentially violates this policy, the faculty member with evaluative authority must report the relationship to his or her department chair, dean, the Department of Human Resources or the University Provost. If the person to whom the relationship is reported determines that such action is necessary, it is the responsibility of both the faculty member with the evaluative authority and the individual to whom the relationship is reported to ensure that the evaluative authority is reassigned. If this is not feasible in a particular instance, the faculty member and the individual to whom the relationship is reported must bring the matter to the attention of the Provost or the Associate Vice President of Human Resources. Failure to report a relationship is a violation of the policy. 

Evaluative Authority Over Students

No faculty member may have evaluative or supervisory authority (including the assignment of grades, the supervision of dissertations, or decisions relating to employment or financial support) over a student who is a relative or with whom the faculty member is having or has recently had a romantic or sexual relationship. If such a relationship exists or has existed between a faculty member and a student over whom the faculty member has evaluative or supervisory authority, the faculty member must report the relationship to his or her department chair, dean, or the University Provost. For purposes of this policy, a relative is a blood relation, in-law, step or adoptive relative, as close as or closer than nephew or niece.

If the person to whom the relationship is reported determines that such action is necessary, it is the responsibility of both the faculty member with the evaluative or supervisory authority and the individual to whom the relationship is reported to ensure that the evaluative or supervisory authority is reassigned. If this is not feasible in a particular instance, the faculty member and the individual to whom the relationship is reported must bring the matter to the attention of the Provost. Failure to report a relationship is a violation of the policy.

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