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Care and Support for Our Community

Dear members of the Northwestern community,

Over the last week, we have heard from many in our community who are upset about allegations of harassment and discrimination within our Cheer Team. At Northwestern, we must not tolerate any form of harassment or discrimination, and we must continue the vital work of ending it.

We take reports of discrimination or harassment seriously, and we encourage all members of our community to come forward to report their experiences.

Some have expressed frustration with the confidential nature of University processes, including the response to reports and investigations. Northwestern is bound by privacy rules and guidelines that prohibit us from discussing the details of this work. These guidelines are not designed to obfuscate, but rather to ensure the integrity of investigations and to safeguard the rights of individuals involved. Interpersonal and workplace issues, as well as formal and informal mechanisms to seek redress and resolution, are part of complex institutions like ours.

Please know that our Office of Equity has been working diligently to respond to all reports of harassment and discrimination and has taken appropriate actions. In addition to a formal investigation, responses include but are not limited to facilitating conversations with impacted parties, engaging in educational conversations, developing targeted trainings, recommending policy changes and connecting impacted parties to campus and local resources. The Office of Equity also collaborates with other units, such as the Office of Human Resources, to ensure that individuals who exercise their right to make formal or informal complaints are protected from retaliation. 

Members of University leadership have reached out to current and former members of the Cheer Team to offer support and listen to concerns. As a University, we are firmly focused on how we can continually improve Northwestern and better support and protect our students.

We share your deep concerns about the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff and acknowledge the hurt experienced by many. The University  offers a range of resources to support those who have experienced, are experiencing or have concerns about any form of discrimination or harassment. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to use these resources: 

  • Students can connect with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), which provides mental health services for undergraduate and graduate students on the Evanston and Chicago campuses. And the Center for Awareness, Response and Education (CARE) provides a confidential space for students impacted by sexual violence, relationship violence or stalking, including friends or partners of survivors.
  • Faculty and staff can access the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which provides a network of services including free and confidential short-term counseling.
  • Northwestern’s Faculty Wellness Program offers assistance to full-time faculty members who are experiencing difficulties in their professional or personal lives.
  • All members of the Northwestern community can access Religious and Spiritual Life, where chaplains are available to talk confidentially and provide support.

We encourage you to reach out if you are struggling and to take advantage of the many University resources that are available. Please take care of yourselves and all members of our community as we face these many challenges together.