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Workplace Violence

Faculty, staff, and students are expected to treat each other with respect and consideration. Demeaning, intimidating, threatening, or violent behaviors that affect the ability to learn, work, or live have no place in an academic community. 

Potential warning signs

A potentially violent person may display various combinations of signs that become more pronounced over time.

If you feel threatened by someone

What to do in a violent situation

If you cannot exit a potentially dangerous situation, the following behaviors may be helpful to de-escalate a situation. Make personal safety the top priority. 


Contact University Police, if the situation presents an immediate threat to life or property (call 911).

In situations that do not involve imminent danger or for advice on the appropriate course of action, a member of the community is to notify a supervisor, department head, or student affairs staff member. Alternatively, the observer may report the incident to the Office of the Provost, the Department of Human Resources, or the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.

Employees dealing with personal problems can contact Perspectives, Ltd., a counseling, evaluation and referral service that is confidential and free to Northwestern faculty and staff.

Review Northwestern’s Guidance on Civility and Violence.