Civility and Mutual Respect

As members of the Northwestern community, staff, faculty, and students are expected to interact with each other with respect and consideration. When a community member’s conduct varies from this expectation, it is the responsibility of the manager, director, department chair, or dean who supervises the person engaging in the inappropriate conduct to address it. Inappropriate conduct covers a broad range of behavior from rude, obnoxious, bullying behavior to threats of violence. The level of danger in the behavior determines the action that the supervisor should take.

For guidance on identifying potential threatening or violent behavior and for the best ways to deal with these incidents, contact the Office of Human Resources. or review the Guidance on Civility and Violence PDF document.

Expected Behavior

Each member of the Northwestern community is expected to treat other community members with civility and respect, recognizing that disagreement and informed debate are valued in an academic community.

Unacceptable Behavior

Demeaning, intimidating, threatening, bullying, or violent behaviors that affect the ability to learn, work, or live in the University environment depart from the standard for civility and respect. These behaviors have no place in the academic community.


Violence is behavior that causes harm to a person or damage to property or causes fear for one’s safety or the safety of others. Examples of violent behavior include physical contact that is harmful and expression of intent to cause physical harm. Such behavior is unacceptable in the Northwestern community. 


A community member who displays inappropriate conduct is subject to disciplinary action up to and including separation of the offending party from the University, consistent with Northwestern University disciplinary procedures.


Visitors, vendors, contractors, and the families of members of the community are required to display appropriate conduct at all times. Noncompliant behavior will lead to removal from the campus.