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University Hearing and Appeals System (UHAS)

Summary of the Process

The purpose of the student conduct process is to promote integrity, civility, respect, and accountability within the University community and to provide prompt, fair, and impartial means for resolving situations in which a Northwestern student(s) or student groups/organizations are alleged to have violated a nonacademic standard or policy of the University. For more information about the Student Code of Conduct, please see the Northwestern Student Handbook.

The student conduct process, also known as the University Hearing and Appeals System (UHAS), is used to resolve alleged violations of University policies by Northwestern students. To the extent possible, NU-Q's process is aligned with the Northwestern UHAS process as outlined here. A number of factors, including the conduct alleged, the potential sanctions, and the interest and willingness of a reporter to engage in the student conduct process will determine the specific aspects of this process that are utilized in each case.

 

INITIAL INQUIRY

When a report is received, a student conduct administrator will gather information regarding the alleged incident in order to determine the appropriate means of resolution, including meeting with the reporter and potentially with others who have knowledge of the incident. During the initial inquiry, the administrator will review all available information related to a report. Based on the information available, the level of detail known about an incident, the interest and willingness of a reporter to participate in the student conduct process, and whether the report is related to a University policy, the administrator will determine the appropriate path for each case. Available options include:

  • Close the Case: Student Conduct may close cases when insufficient information exists to move forward or when the alleged misconduct—even if substantiated— would not be a violation of policy. Student Conduct may, in its discretion, reopen a case in the future if additional information becomes available.
  • Informal Resolution: Informal resolution involves action taken by the University in response to a situation or report of violation of University policy when formal resolution is not desired by the reporter or when there is not enough information to proceed with a formal resolution process.
  • Formal Resolution: Student Conduct may determine that there is reasonable information to suggest a policy violation may have occurred. In these cases, the Student Conduct will refer the case to formal resolution for further investigation and formal resolution.
  • Summary Resolution: Summary resolution involves administrative action taken when exigent circumstances require immediate action to protect the welfare and safety of the University community.
Additionally, the student conduct administrator will determine whether interim actions should be taken while the case is pending. Interim actions may include measures taken prior to the formal resolution to ensure the safety and security of the campus community.

INTERIM ACTIONS

Upon receipt of a report but prior to the resolution of an allegation of misconduct, the Office of Student Conduct or designee(s) may take interim action (including protective measures and accommodations) to ensure the safety and security of the University community, University community members, or University property. Interim actions are all placed pending prompt hearing through UHAS. In such instances the University will typically attempt to speak with the respondent and give them an initial opportunity to respond to the allegation of policy
violation prior to issuing the interim actions.
Interim actions may be applied to the reporter, the respondent, or the broader University community and include (but are not limited to):
  • A no-contact directive placed between students or between a student and another member of the University community
  • Changes in academic, work, or living arrangements
  • Assistance in requesting academic allowances
  • A formal request or warning that a student cease current behaviors
  • Removal of privileges or suspension of activity (including attendance in a specific class)
  • Issuance of a timely warning to the University community
  • A forensic threat assessment or fitness for duty evaluation and required follow-through on recommendations at the decision of the Behavioral Consultation Team

INTERIM SUSPENSION

An interim suspension of a student from the University for allegations of nonacademic misconduct (including alleged violations of the Policy on Sexual Misconduct) may be imposed by the Vice President for Student Affairs, or designee, in their discretion and shall become effective immediately. The Dean of NU-Q or Vice President for Student Affairs, or the designee, issuing the interim suspension will make a reasonable attempt to speak with the student and give the student an initial opportunity to respond to the concerns before issuing the interim suspension. Allegations that may warrant an interim suspension include, but are not limited to: 
  • Sale, distribution, use, or possession of illegal drugs
  • Possession of dangerous weapons
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Theft of or damage to property
  • Obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, hearing procedures, or other University activities
  • Action or threat of action that endangers or threatens to endanger the health, safety, or wellbeing or any person (including oneself)
  • Fraud
Any student who receives an interim suspension will be required to remove themselves immediately from the residence halls, will not be permitted to attend class, and will be excluded from University property and University events unless the student’s presence on campus or at University events is explicitly authorized by the Dean of NU-Q, Vice President of Student Affairs, or designee issuing the interim action. Any respondent who has received an interim suspension should expect a prompt and fair formal resolution to their alleged misconduct. The University must balance the need for a prompt outcome with the need to protect the integrity of the system and to ensure a fair, thorough, and equitable student conduct process and outcome.

INFORMAL RESOLUTION TEXT

Informal resolution involves action taken by the University in response to a situation or report of violation of University policy when formal resolution is not desired by the reporter or when there is not enough information to proceed with a formal resolution process. An informal resolution is similar to an interim action but serves as final resolution and is not put in place pending a hearing through UHAS. Informal resolution does not result in findings related to responsibility or in sanctions. Options for informal resolution include, but are not limited to:
  • A no contact directive placed between students or between a student and another member of the University community
  • Changes in academic, work, or living arrangements
  • An educational meeting with a student or community
  • A formal advisory letter and/or request that a student cease current
    behaviors
  • Deferred conduct action: In appropriate situations, conduct cases may be deferred. When a case
    is deferred, the University refrains from taking any action on a case for a designated period of time (generally up to one year from the date of the incident), during which time a student may be given the opportunity to satisfy certain conditions or obligations as a means of avoiding further conduct action. Sanctions may also be deferred. 

FORMAL RESOLUTION TEXT

The University Hearing and Appeals System is not a court, legal, or trial system, and the resolution options, including formal resolution, available through UHAS are not constrained by the rules of procedure or evidence typically used in a court of law. UHAS operates under a standard of fairness, which includes an opportunity for the student or student group to be notified of the alleged misconduct and the policy violations under consideration and an opportunity to be heard. As such, if a case is referred for formal resolution, the respondent will be notified of the alleged misconduct and will be given an opportunity to respond. Depending on the circumstances and in its discretion, Student Conduct may consolidate for investigation and resolution multiple incidents involving the same respondent, and/or cases in which parties have made allegations against each other. For more information, please see the Northwestern Student Handbook.

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