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Student Code of Conduct Policy

Statement of Expectations

As members of the University community, all NU-Q students, groups of students, and student organizations are expected to exemplify Northwestern’s community principles and values, to engage in socially responsible behavior, and to model exceptional conduct, character, and citizenship on campus and beyond.


NU-Q shall have jurisdiction over all cases, other than those arising because of unsatisfactory academic work, that may call for discipline of a student, group of students, or student organization of any school (undergraduate or graduate) of any school arising out of conduct that occurred during the time the student or students at issue were enrolled, including cases concerning the rights or property of the University, Qatar Foundation, or members of the University Community and the rights and property of any person if the acts complained of occurred (1) on University or Qatar Foundation premises; (2) at a University or Qatar Foundation activity, program, function, or sponsored event; (3) in a manner that otherwise relates to and/or reflects negatively on the University or Qatar Foundation.

Learn about the University Hearing and Appeals System. 



The following acts, conduct, and behavior are prohibited by this Student Code of Conduct. An attempt to commit an act prohibited by this code, as well as assisting or willfully encouraging any such act, is considered a violation of this code. Students, groups of students, and student organizations may also be held responsible for any misconduct by their visitors and guests.

  1. Physical abuse of any person or any action that threatens or endangers the emotional well-being, health, or safety of any person (including oneself).
  2. Acts of theft or damage, including the following:
    • Theft of property or services;
    • Knowing possession of stolen property or materials; and
    • Destroying, damaging, defacing, or vandalizing property.
  3. Unauthorized entry to or use of University or Qatar Foundation facilities, property, systems, or services, including the unauthorized possession, duplication, distribution, or use of keys, access codes, access cards, or other means of entry or access to any University or Qatar Foundation property, premises or location.
  4. Disorderly conduct or disruptive acts, including the following:
    • Obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, hearing procedures, or University or Qatar Foundation activities or of other authorized activities, including studying, learning, and emergency services, and other violations of the University’s Disruption Policy;
    • Disorderly conduct or other action that disturbs or endangers the peace or comfort of others or the community; and
    • Making, causing, continuing, or allowing to continue any loud, unnecessary, or unusual noise that disturbs the peace of others, including violations of residence-hall quiet hours
  5. Acts of fraud, misrepresentation, or dishonesty, including the following:
    • Forgery, alteration, or misuse of University or Qatar Foundation documents, records, or identification or other materials submitted to the University or Qatar Foundation;
    • Knowingly furnishing false information to the University or Qatar Foundation or any University or Qatar Foundation official; and
    • Intentionally initiating or causing to be initiated any false report, warning, or threat of fire, explosion, or other emergency; and
  6. Abuses of the student conduct system, including the following:
    • Failure or refusal to appear upon request or to cooperate in the investigation, hearing, or administration of cases of alleged offenses (provided that no students shall be required to furnish information that would be self-incriminating);
    • Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information in the investigation, hearing, or administration of cases of alleged offenses;
    • Institution of a frivolous or malicious student conduct proceeding (including an appeal);
    • Actions or attempts to harass, intimidate, retaliate against, or improperly influence any individual associated with the student conduct system, including efforts to discourage participation, to affect impartiality, or to influence statements or testimony;
    • Unauthorized release or disclosure of information related to a student conduct proceeding; and
    • Failure to comply with the sanctions or outcomes imposed for violations of this code or other University or Qatar Foundation rules, regulations, and policies.
  7. Failure to comply or cooperate with University or Qatar Foundation officials, security officers or law enforcement officers acting in their official capacity within established guidelines (provided that no students shall be required to furnish information that would be self-incriminating), including failure to provide identification when asked or to surrender, upon request, one’s University identification card until an incident is resolved.
  8. Infractions related to alcohol and alcoholic beverages, including the following:
    • Use or possession of alcohol;
    • Providing or distributing alcohol; and
    • Other violations of the University alcohol policies or state and local laws, including the laws of the State of Qatar, pertaining to alcoholic beverages, including those governing the transportation, possession, and consumption of alcohol.
  9. Infractions related to illegal drugs and controlled substances (including marijuana, narcotics, cocaine, heroin, and prescription medication), including the following:
    • Use, misuse, or possession of illegal drugs or controlled substances (except as expressly permitted by law);
    • Manufacturing or distribution of illegal drugs or controlled substances;
    • Use, possession, manufacturing, or distribution of drug paraphernalia;
    • Other violations of the University's drug policies or federal, state, and local laws, including the laws of the State of Qatar, pertaining to illegal drugs and controlled substances
  10. Possession or use of firearms, weapons, explosives, or dangerous substances and devices, including the following:
    • Possession of firearms, ammunition, BB guns, air rifles, pellet or paint guns, slingshots, knives, weapons of any description, explosives, firecrackers, fireworks, dangerous chemicals or substances, or any other object or substance designed to inflict a wound or cause injury (or imitations of any such items), on University of Qatar Foundation premises or at University or Qatar Foundation activities or events (except as specifically authorized); and
    • Use or brandishing of any such item, even if legally possessed, in a manner that harms, threatens, causes fear to, or otherwise endangers others.
  11. Actions that jeopardize the safety or security of the University, the University or Education City community, or any University or Qatar Foundation facilities, building, or premises, including
    • Intentionally damaging or destroying property by fire or explosives;
    • Creating or maintaining a fire or fire hazard (except as specifically authorized), including burning candles or incense or use of unauthorized appliances or heating devices, including toasters, microwaves, hot plates, and space heaters;
    • Tampering with or misuse of emergency or fire safety equipment, including emergency call devices, fire alarms, fire exits, firefighting equipment, smoke/heat detectors, or sprinkler systems;
    • Failing to immediately exit any facility or building when a fire alarm or other emergency notification has been sounded, or hindering or impairing the orderly evacuation of any University or Qatar Foundation facility, building, or premises;
    • Disobeying a directive or command by any University or emergency official in connection with a fire, alarm, or other safety, security, or emergency matter;
    • Smoking in any enclosed University or Qatar Foundation facility (including, but not limited to, common work areas, auditoriums, health facilities, athletic facilities, classrooms, conference rooms, private offices, libraries, lounges, hallways, campus living units, cafeterias, stairways, and restrooms), in any designated outdoor areas, or within 25 feet of an entrance, open window, ventilation intake, or similar feature of any enclosed University or Qatar Foundation facility (or other violation of the Smoking Policy); and
    • Violations of state or local fire and fire-related ordinances, including the laws of the State of Qatar.
  12. Abuse of NU-Q, University or Qatar Foundation computer, network, or telecommunications systems or resources, including the following:
    • Unauthorized use of facilities, services, equipment, account numbers, or files, including using a NetID or account assigned to another user or providing another user with access to one’s NetID or account;
    • Reading, copying, changing, deleting, tampering with, or destruction of another user’s files, software, programs, and accounts (including monitoring another user’s data communications) without permission of the owner;
    • Use of University resources to interfere with the work of another student, a faculty member, or a University official, or that otherwise interferes with normal operation of University or Qatar Foundation systems;
    • Use of computing facilities and resources in violation of copyright laws (including unauthorized downloading or sharing of copyrighted files); and
    • Violation of any other University policy regarding computers, networks, or electronic communication.
  13. Knowingly allowing one’s visitors or guests to violate this Student Code of Conduct or other University or Qatar Foundation rules, regulations, or policies, or failing to monitor the behavior of one’s visitors or guests to assure their adherence to such standards.
  14. Actions that are deemed to violate any federal, state or local law or ordinance
  15. Violation of any other rule, regulation, or policy set forth in the Northwestern Student Handbook or otherwise enacted and published by the Qatar Foundation, by the University, by living units, or by another delegated authority of the University.


Students, groups of students, or student organizations found to have violated the Student Code of Conduct (or any other University rules, regulations, or policies) shall be subject to a variety of sanctions, and outcomes, which may be imposed alone or in combination with one another. These include disciplinary sanctions, housing sanctions, educational and developmental requirements, corrective and restorative outcomes, and other interventions and referrals.

Some of the most common sanctions and outcomes are listed below, but these lists do not exclude other appropriate sanctions or requirements. Failure to comply with sanctions or other requirements may result in additional charges or violations or in holds being placed on student accounts (including registration, graduation, and transcript holds).

When considering the sanctions or outcomes to be imposed, a range of factors may be considered, including:

  • the nature and severity of the incident,
  • the disciplinary history of the student,
  • the developmental needs of the student,
  • the level of accountability and responsibility taken by the student,
  • the level of cooperation from the student,
  • the interests of the community and those impacted by the conduct, and
  • any other aggravating, mitigating, or relevant factors.

A student’s use of alcohol or other drugs prior to or in connection with an incident—even if lawfully consumed—will generally be viewed as an aggravating factor. Other aggravating factors, especially for incidents that involve alcohol, include participation in drinking games or other excessive, abusive, or irresponsible patterns of consumption (e.g., chugging, funneling, keg stands).

Disciplinary sanctions include the following:

  1. Exclusion: A status in which students are deprived of all attributes of student status and may not register, submit written course work, receive academic credit, attend classes, or participate in any function or event sponsored by the University or any of its departments, groups, or organizations (unless specifically authorized). An NU-Q student who is excluded may not reenter the University without acceptance of formal application by the NU-Q Office of Admission and approval of the vice president for student affairs; exclusion may also include the imposition of additional conditions for re-enrollment or reapplication.
  2. Suspension: A status, imposed for a minimum of one academic semester and a maximum of two academic semesters, in which students are removed from the University and may not register, attend classes, submit course work, receive academic credit, or participate in any function or event sponsored by the University or any of its departments, groups, or organizations (unless specifically authorized). Suspension may also include the imposition of conditions for reenrollment or reapplication.
  3. Disciplinary probation: A status, imposed for a specific period of time, indicating that any violations committed during the period of probation may result in more serious sanctions, including suspension for a minimum of one academic semester.
  4. Social probation: A status, imposed for a specific period of time, in which students or student organizations are barred from or limited in engaging in, participating in, hosting, or sponsoring social events (formal or informal) or other nonacademic activities. The purpose of social probation is to allow students to reflect on creating and sustaining socially responsible environments and behaviors and to demonstrate the ability to abide by community standards and expectations. The precise parameters of social probation may vary depending on the circumstances and will be specified in writing.
  5. Warning: Formal notice that a student’s actions violated a University rule or policy and that further misconduct, or any other violation of a University rule or policy, may result in more serious disciplinary action.
  6. Fines: Monetary penalties imposed for violations.
  7. Loss or restriction of privileges or activities: The withdrawal of the use of services or privileges as a student or member of the community, or the loss of the privilege to participate in an activity or event.

Other outcomes of an educational, developmental, restorative, supportive, and sustaining nature that may be imposed in conjunction with disciplinary or housing sanctions include the following:

  1. Educational requirements: Participation or completion of a project, class, or other activity to build awareness or knowledge relevant to the nature of the offense or oneself, including research papers, personal reflections, workshops, designing an informational bulletin board, or preparing an action plan.
  2. University or community service: Completion of a project or period of service to NU-Q or Qatar Foundation or with an organization providing services to the community.
  3. Referrals to other offices, departments, programs, or agencies: Attendance at and completion of any assessment, program, treatment plan, or intervention to which a student is referred.
  4. Restrictions on access or contact: Restrictions or prohibitions on a student’s entry or access to particular locations, premises, or events, or on a students’ contact with another student or group of students.
  5. Restitution or replacement: Requiring a student to replace damaged property or pay for damages or costs caused by the student’s misconduct.
  6. Restorative actions: Requiring a student to engage in actions to restore the impact of a violation and repair the harms resulting from misconduct on other members of the community. These actions may include letters of apology, drafting and implementing a plan of resolution, engaging in restorative justice conferences, and developing plans for reintegration.


Northwestern University faculty and staff may choose to request information about a student's conduct record when considering the student for a position of leadership or privilege on campus. University faculty and staff can request this information through the Student Conduct Records Check online form. Please allow one week for requests with less than 100 students. Please allow at least two weeks for requests with over 100 students.

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