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Privacy Statement

Northwestern University’s educational mission includes sharing information about the many academic, research, and other developments that occur at Northwestern University (“Northwestern” or “we”).  We use our website as one of the means to communicate this information.    

Purpose of Privacy Statement

This Privacy Statement applies to the information we collect when you visit the main Northwestern website, which includes the Northwestern homepage at http://www.northwestern.edu, as well as the following top-level pages:  About, Academics, Admissions, Campus Life, Research, Students, Parents & Families, Faculty & Staff, Northwestern Now, Northwestern Magazine, and COVID-19 and Campus Updates (collectively, the “Sites”).  This Privacy Statement describes how this information is collected, used, processed, and shared by Northwestern.  All Northwestern schools, centers and other Northwestern units and affiliates may run and maintain their own websites on either the Northwestern.edu domain or organization-specific domains.  These other sites may carry their own privacy notices or additional information relating to their activities, which will supersede or supplement this Privacy Statement. 

It is important that you read this Privacy Statement to understand how and why Northwestern collects and uses your personal information.

Definitions

Where we refer in this policy to your “personal information”, we mean any information that is about you and from which you can be identified. It does not include data where your identity has been removed (anonymous data).

Where we refer to the “processing” of your personal information, we mean anything that we do with that information, including collection, use, storage, disclosure, retention or deletion.

Who is using your data?

Northwestern is the "data controller" for the information that you provide to us when visiting our website. This means that we decide how to use it and are responsible for looking after it.  We generally use the personal information that we collect to operate the various functions of Northwestern, provide the Sites and related services that may be available to you through the Sites, and for the other purposes described below.  We also share your personal information with third parties as described below in the Sharing your personal information with third parties section.

Access to your personal information within Northwestern will be provided to those staff who need to view it as part of their work in connection with our operations and the operation of the Sites.  

The ways in which we collect and use your personal information vary depending on the relationship between you and Northwestern, as well as the specific Northwestern function with which you interact. The following sub-sections of this Privacy Statement describe in more detail our collection and use practices for a number of these relationships and functions.

How do we collect and use your personal information?

Northwestern collects personal information you provide, for example, when you enter the information into form fields on our Sites. As is true of most digital platforms, we also gather certain information automatically when you use our Sites. We rely on separate and overlapping bases to process your personal information lawfully. The following table describes in more detail the personal information we collect, why we collect it, and our legal basis for processing it.

Category of Personal Data Purposes of Processing Legal Bases for Processing

Contact Information including your name, home address, email address and phone number

To respond to requests for information from you and communicate with you

To process transactions requested by you and meet our contractual obligations; Legitimate interests; Your consent, if applicable

Log Files including IP addresses, browser type, internet service provider, referring/exit pages, operating system, date/time stamp and/or clickstream data

To maintain the security of our Sites, for fraud detection, and to protect our rights

Legitimate interests

Location Information: We may use your IP address to identify the general geographic area from which you are accessing Northwestern.edu.

To conduct analytics to improve the Sites, track user trends, and create custom audience lists. We connect data from different systems but do not link IP addresses to any personal information.

Legitimate interests; Your consent, if applicable

Survey or Form Data: User-specific data provided by you, including Northwestern affiliation, user ID, department, system for which you need access, as well as voluntarily provided information such as feedback, user preferences or opinions.

To provide service regarding websites or systems, and to aggregate research data to improve websites or systems or resolve issues.

Legitimate interests; Your consent

 

Our use of cookies

Like most other websites, we use cookies and similar technologies to help us understand how people use our Sites.

What are cookies?

Cookies are small text files placed on your computer by websites that you visit. These text files can be read by these websites to help identify you or to retain settings that improve your user experience. Cookies can be “persistent” or “session” cookies. Persistent cookies remain on your computer when you have gone offline, while session cookies are deleted as soon as you close your web browser. To find out more about cookies, including how to see what cookies have been set and how to block and delete cookies, please visit http://www.aboutcookies.org/.

Northwestern University Sites Cookie Information

You can read more about the cookies used on the Sites, and how to opt out of collection of your personal information by cookies and other technologies, by visiting our Cookie Information Page.

Clear GIFs

Clear GIFs are included in our email newsletters. You can unsubscribe from our newsletters at any time by following the link in the newsletter itself.

Consent to Cookies and Similar Technologies

We have done our best to provide you with clear and comprehensive information about our use of cookies and similar technologies. If you choose to use the Sites without blocking or disabling cookies or opting out of these technologies (as described on our Cookie Information Page), you will indicate your consent to our use of these cookies and other technologies and to our use (in accordance with this Privacy Statement) of any personal information that we collect using these technologies. If you do not consent to the use of these technologies, please be sure to block or disable them using your browser settings, the opt-out links included on the Cookie Information Page, or the settings on your mobile device.

Change of Purpose

We will only process your personal information for the purposes for which we collected it unless we reasonably consider that we need to use it for another related reason and that reason is compatible with the original purpose. If we need to use your personal information for an unrelated purpose, we will seek your consent to use it for that new purpose. Please note that there may be occasions where we may process your personal information without your knowledge or consent where this is required or permitted by law.

Sharing your personal information with third parties

We share your personal information internally at Northwestern to facilitate and manage the purposes listed above.  This includes third parties we engage to process your personal information on our behalf for the purposes stated above, such as vendors who help us with our marketing, application processing, and web hosting.  We may also share your personal information with third parties if we are under a duty to disclose or share your personal information in order to comply with any legal obligation, or in order to enforce or apply the terms of use of the Sites, or to protect the rights, property or safety of the Sites, our users, and others.

Where your personal information is shared with third parties, we will seek to share the minimum amount necessary.  We do not sell or trade your personal information to outside third parties.

International transfer of personal information

Personal information provided to us by users outside of the United States may be transferred to other countries such as the United States, where data protection laws may differ from those of your home country.  By providing us with your information you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to the U.S. and processed on servers in the U.S.  However, all reasonable steps will be taken to protect your privacy in accordance with applicable data protection laws.

How we store and secure your personal information

We handle your personal information with care and respect. However, no method of transmission over the Internet or method of electronic storage is 100% secure.  While we strive to use commercially reasonable means to protect your personal information, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.

Other Northwestern and third-party websites

Our website contains links to and from various Northwestern and third-party websites. If you follow a link to any of these websites, please note that these websites may have their own privacy statements. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for policies of third-party websites; please check these policies before you submit any personal information to third party websites.

Retaining your personal information

We will only keep your personal information for as long as necessary to fulfill the purposes we collected it for, including for the purposes of satisfying any legal, accounting, or reporting requirements. We may also keep your records if legally required or to fulfill a legitimate interest.

Your rights

If you wish to unsubscribe from receiving emails from a particular Northwestern department or one of the Sites, you may request this by unsubscribing through the unsubscribe feature included in specific emails, or by contacting us as set forth in the Contact Us section below. Please note that Northwestern will not unsubscribe you from emails about your account or your transactions with us.

EEA Data Subject Rights

If you reside or are present in the EEA, under certain circumstances you have the right to:

Depending on the circumstances and the nature of your request it may not be possible for us to do what you have asked, such as where there is a statutory or contractual requirement for us to process your personal information and it would not be possible to fulfil our legal obligations if we were to stop.  However, where you have consented to the processing you can withdraw your consent at any time by emailing us at privacy@northwestern.edu. In this event, we will stop the processing as soon as we can. However, this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing carried out before your withdrawal of consent and you may no longer be able to use the site in the same way as you did before.

If you want to exercise any of the rights described above or are dissatisfied with the way we have used your information, you should contact us at set forth in the Contact Us section below.  Also, if you are not satisfied with our response, you have the right to complain to or seek advice from your national data protection authority (i.e., a supervisory authority) and/or bring a claim against us in any court of competent jurisdiction.

Children's Information

The Sites are intended for general audiences, and we do not intend to collect and we will not knowingly collect or solicit personal information online through the Sites from children under the age of 13.

Updates to Privacy Statement

We may update this Privacy Statement at any time by posting any changes to this page. Please check back frequently to see any updates or changes to this Privacy Statement. We may also notify you in other ways from time to time about the processing of your personal information. Your continued use of the Sites after any change in this Privacy Statement will constitute your acceptance of such change.

Contact Us

If you have questions or concerns about this privacy statement please contact us by email at privacy@northwestern.edu or in writing to:

Northwestern University
Attn: Director of Compliance & Ethics
2020 Ridge Ave, Suite 240
Evanston, Illinois 60208

Northwestern’s European Representative under Article 27 of the GDPR can be contacted at:

Northwestern University
Attn: Director of Compliance & Ethics
2020 Ridge Ave, Suite 240
Evanston, Illinois 60208

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