Campus Safety at Northwestern
This is a training module for active violence prevention, preparation, and response. You will learn proactive approaches to preventing violence, preparing for emergencies, and responding to an emergency, if one occurs. You will be asked to:
- Exercise a prevention mindset and refer distressed individuals to campus help resources
- Mitigate the risk of violence by reporting behavior that concerns you
- Prepare for emergencies by increasing your awareness and knowing your resources
- Respond to emergencies, if they arise, following the advice of University Police
It must be completed by August 31 at 11:59 p.m. CDT.
Click on each section to learn key points before watching the safety video; the online campus safety requirement for incoming students will not be marked complete until you read through this page and complete the video (log in using NetID).
1. What is concerning behavior?
Let's start with what it is not: color or ethnicity, or eccentricity or awkwardness, or strong emotions or physical self-expression, or a spirited discussion.
Concerning behaviors are acts, communications, or other red flags that can be reasonably interpreted as potentially threatening and that may precede violence on campus.
- An explicit threat of violence toward another individual
- Patterns of bullying and intimidating others
- Highly disruptive, unsafe, hostile, aggressive, and/or violent behaviors
- Discussing, viewing, drawing, or using weapons outside of an appropriate context
Conversations may also reveal concerns.
- Suicidal or homicidal ideation—including hypothetical ruminations
- Worries about one’s own personal safety
- Hostile feelings of perceived injustice or wrongdoing
- Plans of retribution
- Refusal to honor boundaries or to hear "no"
Circumstances may increase concerns.
- Changes in work performance
- Sudden changes in home life or personality
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Financial difficulties
- Pending civil or criminal litigation
- Marginalization or distancing from friends and colleagues
2. Reporting concerning behavior
Members of the Northwestern community, including faculty, staff, and students, are expected to report concerning and threatening behavior immediately.
- Report emergencies to 911
- Report non-emergencies to Northwestern's Director of Threat Assessment and provide any information that may help facilitate intervention and mitigate risks
- You may report online using the Wildcats Aware Concerning Behavior Reporting Form
- Reports may be anonymous
3. What happens when you report it?
Reports are reviewed by the Director of Threat Assessment and a multidisciplinary team comprised of representatives from departments across the University, the Behavioral Consultation Team (BCT). After reviewing the report, the BCT:
- Assesses the threat and the needs of all individuals involved
- Addresses the behavior and coordinate the University's response
- Leverages the resources of the University to promote the best possible outcomes
- Monitors the situation over time to ensure it remains unthreatening
You are protected from harm and retaliation
4. Don't talk yourself out of it
It's important to question any idea that may dissuade you from reporting concerns. Behind each misconception below is a better idea about campus safety.
- “I’m afraid of what will happen to me.”
Reporters may have police escort, assistance, or stand-by in cases of imminent threat. You may request that University Police conduct a safety assessment of your area to enhance safety. You are protected from retaliation and your anonymity is a priority.
- “I don’t want to get them in trouble.”
All reports are assessed by a team of experts for the level of threat and the needs of individuals involved. Their goals are to enhance safety and provide resources for both the complainant and the person of concern.
- “It’s none of my business.”
It’s all of our responsibility to enhance campus safety.
- “Some people are just entitled to hostility.”
No one, no matter their achievements, is above civility. It is our shared responsibility to hold everyone accountable for a campus free of hostility, bullying, intimidation, and the threat of violence.
- “It’s just the passion of youth.”
Students are entitled to a learning environment free from violence and intimidation. It is because young minds are developing that we must protect our campus culture and hold everyone accountable to standards of conduct.
- “They’re too powerful in the University. If I report the behavior, nothing will happen anyway.”
Highly ranked officials are not above civility. Our standards, values, and policies apply to all.
5. Planning your approach to emergencies
For places you work or study, undertake a more systematic observation with colleagues — the members of your work or academic group. Everyone should know:
- The location address and room number
- Whether doors can be locked, lights turned off, and windows shaded
- What spaces are available to shelter
- What structures offer cover
- What are the routes of evacuation
The below video, “Northwestern Safety Training: Run, Hide, Fight,” simulates an active shooter on campus and follows actors as they respond.
Incoming undergraduate students who may find the content triggering should contact New Student and Family Programs at email@example.com for information on completing the requirement using alternative means. Otherwise, please move forward to the video below; incoming students will receive completion credit once the video has played in its entirety and you progress to the completion page.