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Enforcement of University and Feinberg Behavioral Standards Policy

Enforcement of University and Feinberg Behavioral Standards Policy

Both Northwestern University and the Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM) set standards of behavior and have established procedures for their fair and equitable enforcement. Medical students are subject to both University and FSM policies. Although these standards are similar, the unique responsibility of medical students for the care of patients in school-affiliated institutions necessitates the inclusion of additional provisions in the FSM standards.  Enforcement may also differ in certain respects.

Actions by an FSM student or students generally falls within FSM to investigate and adjudicate.  However, an incident involving multiple students from different schools may be more appropriately addressed by the University centrally. Alleged violations of the University’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct and/or its Policy on Discrimination and Harassment are resolved through the sexual misconduct complaint resolution process and discrimination and harassment complaint resolution guidelines, respectively. See here for additional details

Consideration of a matter by other areas of the University, or law enforcement authority, does not preclude the FSM Student Promotions Committee from imposing additional sanctions or taking other actions it determines to be warranted based on the school’s professionalism standards. In cases where it is not clear which procedure should apply, the Dean of the Feinberg School of Medicine and the University Vice President for Student Affairs will decide whether investigation and resolution of an incident of alleged misbehavior will be handled by FSM, Northwestern University centrally, or both.

University Standards

All Northwestern students are temporary residents of the state of Illinois and, as such, are subject to the laws of the state and to the ordinances of the cities of Evanston, Chicago, or all other cities they are in. In addition, every student is required to comply with all rules and regulations enacted and published by the University or under the delegated authority of the University. For further information, refer to the Northwestern University Student Handbook.

A medical student or student organization found to have violated any one of the University’s rules or regulations shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.


Standards of behavior and expected professional qualities have been defined by the Enforcement of University and Feinberg Behavioral Standards (above) as well as the following policies and documents:


Violations and offenses of behavioral standards


University Offenses

Students may be subject to disciplinary proceedings for any of the following:

  • Physical abuse of any person or any action that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person, including oneself;
  • Theft of or damage to property on University premises or facilities or at University functions;
  • Unauthorized entry to or use of University facilities;
  • Obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, hearing procedures, or other authorized activities on University premises;
  • Forgery, alteration, or misuse of University documents, records, or identification or knowingly furnishing false information to the University;
  • Failure or refusal to appear upon request or cooperate in the investigation or hearing of cases of alleged offenses (provided that no students shall be required to furnish information that would be self-incriminating); or
  • Violation of rules and regulations set forth or otherwise enacted and published by the University or other delegated authority of the University, including the Northwestern University Student Handbook.


Feinberg Offenses

In addition to violation of the University Standards, grounds for referral to the Student Promotions Committee include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Harassment, harm, abuse, or theft to, of, or from any person or property on University grounds, at University-sponsored events, or on property owned by any hospital, affiliated institution, or individual to which or whom the student may be assigned
  • Failure to abide by any safety or hygiene standards recommended by Feinberg, Northwestern, the Illinois Department of Public Health, or the CDC, including standards regarding social distancing, limiting gatherings, hand washing and sanitizing, and cleaning shared surfaces, both on-campus and in the community. Failure to comply may lead to a physicianship form or meeting with the deans.
  • Failure to follow infection control policies, including universal masking, and other PPE guidelines as mandated by Northwestern Medicine or clinical affiliates.
  • Giving, receiving, or utilizing unauthorized aid on examinations or assignments
  • Plagiarism, misrepresenting the source of academic work, or falsifying attendance records
  • Knowingly and intentionally falsifying or manufacturing scientific, educational, or clinical data and representing them as the result of scholarly research or patient examination
  • Entering or using University or hospital facilities without authorization or disrupting teaching, research, administrative, or student functions of the University
  • Misusing institutional documents or instruments of identification in an attempt to defraud
  • Identifying oneself as someone other than a medical student
  • Misusing the computing and network resources of the University or its affiliated hospitals
  • Any alleged violations of law
  • Participating in academic or clinical endeavors of the University or its affiliated institutions while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance
  • Placing a patient in needless jeopardy
  • Disclosing privileged information about a patient or other HIPAA violations
  • Refusing to provide care for a patient assigned by a clinical supervisor
  • Failure to maintain truthfulness and/or accountability


Related LCME Standard
3.5: Learning Environment/Professionalism


Last Updated: 8/24/20