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Student COVID-19 Code of Conduct

Dear Students,

This year has been nothing like we’ve ever seen before. Our committed staff and faculty have spent months taking precautionary measures for the Fall term, and we’re excited to welcome you back to classes. We want to give you the best chance possible to have an engaging, positive and healthy Fall term under these extraordinary circumstances. To make that work, however, we all need to do our part.

Northwestern expects full cooperation from our students, as was outlined in the Student Expectations and COVID-19 Code of Conduct and reiterated in the subsequent training. We also expect you to uphold the Student Code of Conduct.

We all saw what happened at other universities because some in their communities flagrantly disregarded safety practices. That is why it is critical that we be vigilant about practicing science-based, life-saving behaviors. Below you will find a summary of our community expectations. We also encourage you to visit the FAQ page for more detailed examples and information. 

  • For all Evanston-based students:
    • We expect you are observing Wildcat Wellness through Sept. 20, 2020. There can be no gatherings during this time.
    • We expect you to follow all public health guidelines for the State of Illinois and City of Evanston, comply with testing, and all instructions regarding quarantine and isolation housing. If you do not, you will be held accountable through our conduct processes, and you could jeopardize your status as a Northwestern student.
    • Note that alcohol can result in inhibiting people’s abilities to make safe choices; be responsible with your alcohol use and the impact any gathering may have on your neighbors. You are part of a larger community — please respect those around you.
  • For students living on campus:
    • We expect you to know and adhere to all policies for living on campus, including the Expectations for Residents During COVID-19. Non-compliance will jeopardize your ability to live on campus and possibly your status as a Northwestern student.
  • For students living off campus (including outside of the Evanston area):
    • We expect you to be good neighbors and follow all ordinances and expectations for the City of Evanston or whatever state or municipality in which you reside. Current Restore Illinois and Evanston Public Health guidelines require gatherings be limited to 50 or fewer guests or 50% of overall room capacity, whichever is fewer. However, all gatherings (regardless of size) must safely allow for sufficient space for social distancing, and face coverings must be worn. Very few residences have outdoor property to accommodate more than 10 guests.

To help ensure that our community is educated, Northwestern conducted outreach in the near-campus neighborhood last week, knocking on doors to check in, distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) and reiterate student behavioral expectations during this time. The conversations were productive, and it was great to see so many of you engaged in conversations around safety during the pandemic. We also understand our community is adjusting to these new expectations, and in circumstances in which education can be used to address low-level issues or concerns (e.g., isolated incident of not wearing a mask), we are prepared to do so.

However, we will not take blatant disregard or non-adherence to these expectations lightly. Disregard of these expectations (e.g., repeatedly disregarding social distancing or mask-wearing expectations; hosting or attending large gatherings that violate safety guidelines) will result in formal action from the Office of Community Standards. Sanctions may include restricted access to campus, suspension or even expulsion from the University. We will act swiftly if you violate these expectations. We expect you to take this seriously — because we will.

We also know that our students may wish to share information with us so that we can intervene before a large gathering occurs. Any community member may fill out a Community Concern report. The more specific information you can provide, the better. Students may also fill out the form anonymously. Finally, students are expected to comply with requests for contact tracing and may receive amnesty from conduct sanctions for participation in the contact tracing and testing that are required upon potential exposure to COVID-19. Hosts of large gatherings who violate COVID-19 expectations are not eligible for amnesty from formal student disciplinary action. That includes both individuals and student organizations.

It is our shared hope that by committing to our community now, we can welcome even more of our students back in January. Eventually we will get back to in-person classes, social gatherings, student traditions, sporting events, concerts, theater productions and all of the things we love about our lives as Wildcats. But this can only happen through our continued collective commitment to the safety and welfare of our community. 

How the upcoming term unfolds depends on all of us — including you. We know we can rise to the challenge and meet this moment with integrity and grace, valuing the safety of the most vulnerable among us and protecting the essential staff who continue to come to campus to care for you. If we all do our part, together we can keep Northwestern, Evanston and each other safe.

With gratitude and care,


Julie Payne-Kirchmeier
Vice President for Student Affairs

Mona Dugo
Interim Dean of Students