Community Standards of Conduct
Dear Members of our Northwestern community,
Before we close the Fall Quarter and enjoy a much needed winter break, I write to reaffirm the University's commitment to creating education, work and living environments where all members of our community are treated with dignity and respect, including when engaging on social media. The University prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of 17 protected categories, as such conduct violates our values and is disruptive to our community.
We expect all members of our community — students, faculty and staff — to follow the standards of conduct identified in the Policy on Institutional Equity, Student Handbook and Code of Conduct, Staff Handbook and Faculty Handbook, as we share a collective responsibility for fostering an inclusive campus.
Part of this work includes engaging in continued learning, understanding and adhering to University policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment, holding one another accountable for upholding University values and reporting behaviors that violate these principles to the relevant University office. All University employees, student employees, and graduate students with teaching or supervisory authority are required to immediately report allegations of sexual misconduct of which they become aware in the scope of their work for the University to the Office of Equity. All University employees with managerial or supervisory authority, including student employees, and graduate students with teaching or supervisory authority are required to immediately report allegations of discrimination and harassment of which they become aware in the scope of their work for the University to the Office of Equity.
The Office of Equity is charged with responding to all student, staff and faculty reports of discrimination and harassment, including sexual misconduct, that occur within the context of a University program or activity or that otherwise affect the University's working or learning environment, regardless of whether the reported conduct occurred on or off campus.
We have recently seen an uptick in reported violations and appreciate the courage it takes to come forward with concerns impacting our community. We take seriously all reports of behaviors that diminish the University’s commitment to equitable access and carefully review each of them for appropriate response. At times, and for a variety of reasons, our jurisdiction to investigate these matters is limited. However, we remain committed to our values and partner with University, school and department leaders, including students, to address harms and create healing. Examples include:
- Offering and connecting impacted parties to available resources on and off campus
- Engaging in educational conversations with individuals engaged in prohibited and concerning behaviors
- Developing targeted trainings
- Facilitating dialogues with impacted parties
- Analyzing demographic data and relevant metrics to identify trends
- Making concrete recommendations for strategic DEI planning and implementation
Again, the Office of Equity is committed to this important work and ready to respond to questions, concerns and complaints. Please take some time to review resources available on the Office of Equity’s website. We also ask all faculty and staff who have yet to complete the Harassment and Discrimination Prevention modules in myHR Learn to do so as soon as possible.
As we wrap up this year, let us invest in ourselves and our campus community in ways that enhance our mission to create a safe and welcoming environment for all. Through our collective efforts, we will create the University we desire to see.