Reporting to The University
Report a Concern Related to Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence, Relationship Violence, and/or Stalking
Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in all university programs and activities. Sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, and sexual harassment are considered forms of sex discrimination. If you experience any of these forms of sexual misconduct, you have rights and options at Northwestern.
Northwestern has two policies on sexual misconduct, which includes sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, and/or sexual harassment. Both the Policy on Title IX Sexual Harassment and the Policy on Institutional Equity are applicable to students, staff, and faculty. Review these policies for more information regarding reporting misconduct at NU. To learn more about the differences and similarities between these policies, see our page with info on the University Hearing and Appeals System (UHAS) here.
If you have experienced or are aware of sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, or sexual harassment perpetuated by a Northwestern student, staff, or faculty member, there are several ways to file a complaint with Northwestern University. These complaints are received and investigated by the Office of Equity.
The Office of Equity is also able to assist any student, staff, or faculty member who has experienced sexual misconduct with supportive measures, including individualized changes to academic, living, dining, transportation, and working situations, regardless of whether the person who harmed them is a member of the Northwestern community and separate of the decision to pursue or not pursue a complaint or investigation.
There is no time limit on filing a complaint. However, as time passes, it may become more difficult for the complaint to be investigated or adjudicated, and it is possible that one or all parties involved may no longer be affiliated with the university and therefore not under its jurisdiction.
Sometimes students are worried that reporting sexual misconduct which involved drugs or alcohol will lead to them or others being sanctioned by the university. Northwestern has an amnesty policy that protects most students or student groups who report sexual misconduct from disciplinary actions around substance use that was related to the misconduct or revealed during its investigation.
**Please note that this report can be filled out anonymously, you are not required to provide your name, email, or phone number. However, anonymous reports limit the university’s ability to follow up on and investigate complaints. If you do provide contact information, you will receive follow-up communication from the Office of Equity and can decide how to proceed.
- Report Sexual Misconduct
- This form is for use by anyone (whether a member of the Northwestern community or not) to report sexual misconduct in which anyone involved is a member of the Northwestern community. The Office of Equity will then reach out to any identified harmed parties and offer an intake meeting, and they may decide whether they wish to move forward with an investigation.
- File a Title IX Sexual Harassment Formal Complaint
- This form is only for use by persons who directly experienced sexual misconduct on or after August 14, 2020 and who have decided to initiate an Office of Equity investigation. Once this form is completed, the person(s) who caused the harm will be notified of the complaint filed against them.
If you are a student, staff, or faculty member who has witnessed or been the target of an act of hate, discrimination, or harassment that is not sexual in nature, you may use the Report of Discrimination and Harassment form here to file a report. There can be overlap between these acts and sexual misconduct; if you are not sure which form best fits your situation, you can reach out to CARE (confidential) or the Office of Equity (not confidential) for more information and support.
Reporting By Phone
If you are more comfortable reporting by phone, you can call the third-party EthicsPoint hotline at 866-294-3545. EthicsPoint will refer your concern to the appropriate office and follow up if you have provided contact information. You will have the option to identify yourself or remain anonymous, though, as with online reporting, anonymous reports are less likely to result in action.
Responsible Employees and Reporting
All Northwestern employees–aside from those identified as confidential resources–are required to report allegations of sexual misconduct, discrimination, and harassment of which they become aware at work to the Office of Equity. If you have experienced sexual misconduct and would like assistance initiating contact with the Office of Equity, you may reach out to one of these employees and ask them to file a report on your behalf. The Office of Equity will then follow up with you.
Filing a report with the University can involve...
After the Office of Equity has received a report and determined that the behavior it alleges may constitute a violation of Northwestern policy, a survivor may choose to move forward with a university investigation and adjudication through the University Hearing and Appeals System (UHAS). UHAS is separate and distinct from legal or criminal justice processes and focuses specifically on determining whether members of the Northwestern community violated university policy and, if so, what sanctions should be applied. A survivor could pursue a criminal or civil case simultaneous to, before, or after university adjudication. All staff affiliated with UHAS are specifically trained in responding to reports of sexual misconduct, stalking, and dating and domestic violence.
For more information on reporting and institutional options after an experience of sexual harassment, sexual violence, relationship violence, or stalking, visit the Office of Equity website.