Located in Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern University is a leading institution that was founded in 1851. It currently has an enrollment exceeding 21,000 students. The leadership of the institution maintains a firm commitment to fostering a “diverse academic community.” This goal is consistent with the federal Title IX guidelines, which were established to address sexual discrimination in all educational environments.
Contacts and Reporting Options
The Title IX Coordinator is located in Rebecca Crown Center within the Sexual Misconduct Response and Resource Office. Complaints of discrimination or harassment may also be submitted anonymously to the Office of Equity using an electronic form. Northwestern also has several Deputy Title IX Coordinators that have specific roles.
Parties Involved in Title IX Matters at Northwestern
- Complainant: The party adversely impacted by the alleged violation, who may or may not have reported the incident
- Respondent: The party that is alleged to have committed the violation
- Advisor: A “support” person chose by the complainant and respondent who may or may not be an attorney
- Office of Equity: Representation from this office is responsible for Title IX proceedings that are appropriate for formal resolution
Role of the Advisor
The complainant and respondent may choose one advisor that will accompany them throughout the proceedings. Respondents are strongly encouraged to choose legal representation to serve in this role. He or she will be better prepared to properly interpret the policies and procedures and may be instrumental in preparation for a hearing.
Possible Informal Resolution
The University may consider attempting to resolve these matters using informal action. The complainant must desire to pursue this course of action. Informal resolution is generally inappropriate for very serious allegations such as those involving sexual assault. Informal resolutions do not result in penalties such as the respondent being suspended or dismissed from the University.
Preliminary Investigative Report
The investigation process culminates with a detailed written summary of all evidence. Parties may submit relevant information for possible inclusion. This report is evaluated to determine whether the matter is appropriate for formal resolution. Parties may request that certain witnesses be interviewed; however, the decisions are made according to the investigator's discretion.
Title IX Sanctioning Panel
A panel is composed of three trained members of the University staff or faculty. A Panel Coordinator is also named by the Office of Student Conduct or Title IX Coordinator to facilitate the hearing process and ensure compliance. The parties are permitted to independently engage with the panel members before sanctioning (if applicable).
The members of the panel may consider all “sanctions and corrective actions” that are contained in the written University procedures. Only witnesses that can provide factual and relevant information are called in hearings. Character witnesses are not permitted. The Sanctioning Panel may consider any prior history of relevant violations committed by the respondent.
All parties will be informed of the University appeals process. Those seeking to appeal should have assistance from their attorney, as failing to comply with the proper procedure will result in rejection. The grounds are limited to:
- New relevant information has become available
- The student conduct process did not adhere to procedure
- The sanctions imposed are believed to be “unreasonable” based on the severity of the violation(s)
Title IX Representation for Students at Northwestern University
The Lento Law Firm will effectively protect the rights of college and university students facing allegations of violating Title IX guidelines. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for additional information.