Jul 16, 2024  
2014-2015 Undergraduate Catalog 

Legal Notices

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Although the university attempts to accommodate the course requests of students, course offerings may be limited by financial, space, and staffing considerations or may otherwise be unavailable. Nothing in this catalog may be construed to promise or guarantee registration in any course or course of study (whether required or elective) nor may anything be construed to promise or guarantee the completion of an academic program within a specified length of time.

Student Responsibility for Obtaining Current University Information


The university reserves the right to make changes in admission requirements, fees, degree requirements, and other specifications set forth in this catalog. Such changes take precedence over catalog statements. While reasonable effort is made to publicize such changes, students should remain in close touch with departmental advisers and appropriate offices, because responsibility for complying with all applicable requirements ultimately rests with the student.

Human Rights Statement

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Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, status based on the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran, or any other factor unrelated to professional qualifications, in employment or in admission or access to, treatment in, or operation of its educational programs and activities. Such discrimination is prohibited by Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, the Age Discrimination Acts of 1974 and 1975, the Vietnam-Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, Titles I-VI of the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act, and other federal and state statutes and regulations. Inquiries concerning application of Title IX, Section 504, and other statutes and regulations may be referred to the Affirmative Action and Diversity Resources Center, 1515 W. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, IL 60115, telephone 815-753-1118, or to the director of the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20024. The Constitution and Bylaws of Northern Illinois University afford equal treatment regardless of political views or affiliation, sexual orientation, or other factor unrelated to scholarly or professional performance (Constitution Article 9, Section 9.2; Bylaws Article 5, Section 5.211; Bylaws Article 7, Section 7.25 and Section 7.252; Bylaws Article 10; and Bylaws Article 18).

Annual Security Report

The Northern Illinois University annual security report is availabile on-line for review at http://www.niu.edu/clery. Printed copies are available through the NIU Department of Public Safety, 375 Wirtz Drive, DeKalb, IL 60115.

Leaves of Absence for Employees

Military leaves of absence will be granted in accordance with applicable Illinois statutes and executive orders issued by the State of Illinois in response to emergency situations and military operations.

Leaves of absence will be granted for volunteer services related to disaster relief in accordance with applicable Illinois statutes or executive orders issued by the State of Illinois in response to emergency situations.

Immigration Reform and Control Act Regulations Affecting Employment by the University

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The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act mandates that any person beginning employment at Northern Illinois University after November 6, 1986, must either be a U.S. citizen or possess current employment authorization from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. All such employees must be prepared to present original documentation to the employing department/cost center within three days of the reporting date on their employment contract or risk cancellation of the contract.

Conflict of Interest Policy for All University Employees

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All employees of the university must conform with the ethics policies as set forth in the university’s “Conflict of Interest Document” available in department offices and at the Graduate School. This document requires that all employees of the university, including students employed on a part-time basis or as graduate assistants, report on specified forms all real, potential, and apparent conflicts of interest.

Storage in University Buildings

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Students electing to utilize university buildings and/or facilities for the storage of personal property owned by them, thereby accept the responsibility for such storage and waive any and all responsibility and liability on the part of the university and its employees for loss of or damage to such personal property by any cause whatsoever including, but not limited to fire, water, windstorm, or other casualty, theft, or improper or inadequate humidity control.

Student Information and Records

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Information and data concerning individual students are collected, maintained, and used by the university only as needed in relation to its basic educational purposes and requirements. Presently, relevant policy and procedures are designed and operated to be in compliance with federal legislation, specifically, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended by Senate Joint Resolution 40, signed into law by the President of the United States on December 31, 1974. The official university procedures and a directory of educational records maintained by NIU are available for review in the Office of Registration and Records. All questions, interpretations, or clarifications involving university policy and procedures are to be directed to the University Legal Counsel.

There are four basic types of student records: academic, financial, medical, and placement. The official academic record is established and kept current by the Office of Registration and Records. It is a cumulative history of the student’s registration and educational participation and performance. Maintained in connection with the academic record is certain biographical and personal identification information as needed for enrollment purposes. Parts or all of these student data are provided by the Office of Registration and Records as needed to the university’s academic offices, colleges, schools, and departments for academic administration and advisement, and to other university administrative units as necessary for the functioning of various student and support services.

Student financial records are the responsibility of the Office of the Bursar, with respect to the billing, payment, and accounting of tuition and fees, and the Office of Student Financial Aid for operation of the university’s student financial assistance program. The Bursar keeps a complete record of student financial transactions relative to the payment of the university charges which are accrued. Within Financial Aid, the student file contains all necessary information regarding scholarships, grants, loans, and employment which are part of the student financial assistance program including institutional, organizational, federal, and state sources.

A health record is created and maintained at Health Services for all students who have submitted information or received medical care at Health Services. Only information pertinent to the health of the individual is included therein. Health Services medical records may be destroyed ten years after the last date medical services were provided.

Career Services, with the student’s voluntary participation, creates and distributes to potential employers a copy of a file which consists of a self-completed resume and various personal references.

Certain records within the university community are exempt from the above-cited federal legislation: records of instructional, supervisory, and administrative personnel which are the possession only of the maker and not accessible nor revealed to any other person except a substitute; files within the University’s Department of Public Safety (University Police); and medical records used in connection with the provision of treatment for a student. Access to these is strictly limited to the university staff immediately involved with their creation and maintenance except for certain specific qualifications.

Further, the university is not required to make available to a student the financial records of his or her parents nor confidential letters and statements of recommendation which were placed in students’ files prior to January 1, 1975, if such are used only for the purpose specifically intended.

Access to or release of each of the above types of records or their respective parts, or of any personally identifiable information, with the previous exceptions noted, is restricted to the following: the student or former student; parents of a legally defined dependent student (reference Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954); university officials who have a legitimate university-related educational or administrative interest and need to review an education record in order to fulfill their professional responsibility; certain specified state and federal representatives primarily as concerns the evaluation and auditing of government-funded programs in which the university participates; officials of other colleges, universities, or schools in which the student intends to enroll, provided the student is informed of this type of request in advance of the information being released; individuals, agencies, and organizations in connection with the student’s application for or receipt of financial aid; state and local officials as directed by State Statute adopted prior to November 19, 1974; with certain restrictions, organizations conducting studies for, or on behalf of, educational agencies or institutions for the purpose of developing, validating, or administering predictive tests, administering student aid programs, and improving instruction; accrediting organizations; and appropriate persons in connection with an emergency, if knowledge of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of a student or other person. A university official for the purposes of this section is a person employed by the university in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the university has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. In all other instances, access or release may be granted only with the written authorization of the student. In cases where such records are to be furnished in compliance with a judicial order or pursuant to a lawfully issued subpoena, the University shall make a reasonable attempt to notify students prior to their release. Such attempts at notice will normally be by personal service or first-class mail to their last known address.

The student has the right to review personally his or her records in the presence of a university representative at an appropriate or convenient campus location. The student should submit a written request to the appropriate university office identifying the record(s) he or she wishes to inspect. The university office will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected within 45 days following receipt of such request. Where necessary, interpretation of the record shall be provided by qualified university personnel. Original records cannot be removed from university premises. A copy may be provided where failure to provide such copy would effectively prevent a student from exercising the right to inspect and review the educational records. While a charge may be made to cover costs of reproduction, in most instances this is not done. However, normal operational fees exist with respect to record reproduction within Career Services, dependent upon the number of copies requested, and the Office of Registration and Records.

A student has the right to challenge the content of a record on the grounds that it is inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of privacy or other rights and to have inserted in the record his or her written explanation of its contents. To initiate such a challenge, the student shall, within 60 days after he or she has inspected and reviewed the record in question for the first time, file with the university office responsible for maintaining such records a written request for a hearing, in a form specified by the university. Within 30 days following receipt of such request the head of such office, or a designated representative, shall review the record in question with the student and either order the correction or amendment of such alleged inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate portions of the record as specified in the request or notify the student of the right to a hearing at which the student and other persons directly involved in the establishment of the record shall have an opportunity to present evidence to support or refute the contention that the portions of the record specified in the request are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate. The student shall be given written notice of the time and place of such hearing not fewer than 10 working days in advance. The hearing will be conducted by a university representative who does not have a direct interest in the outcome. The student shall have the right to attend the hearing, to be represented and advised by other persons, and to call witnesses in his or her behalf. The student shall be notified in writing of the decision within 10 working days following the hearing or within 10 working days of a decision without a hearing. Such decision is final.

The student may waive the right of access to confidential statements submitted with respect to application for admission to the Graduate School or another educational institution, an application for employment, or receipt of an honor or honorary recognition. However, the student cannot be required to do so. Further, the student who does waive right of access will be provided, upon request, with the names of all persons making confidential recommendations.

Directory information pertaining to students, as defined below, may be released by the university at any time provided that it publish this definition at least once each academic year in the campus student newspaper and the individual student is given a reasonable period of time to inform the university that such information is not to be released without his or her prior consent. Such information is never knowingly provided any requestor for a commercial purpose. Directory information includes the student’s name, address, telephone listing, e-mail address and photographic or electronic picture or image, date and place of birth, major field of study, classification, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance and full- or part-time status, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student.

As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which your education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records – including your Social Security Number, grades, or other private information – may be accessed without your consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities (“Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to your records and PII without your consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to your education records and PII without your consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when the University objects to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive your PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without your consent PII from your education records, and they may track your participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about you that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.

Students who believe that their privacy rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 have been violated, have the right to file a complaint with the Family Policy Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education, 600 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20202-4605.

Conduct and Discipline Regulations

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It is expected that all enrolled students intend to engage in serious educational pursuits. When students accept admission to NIU, the university assumes that they thereby agree to conduct themselves in accordance with its standards.

The university expects all of its students, both on and off the campus, to conduct themselves in accordance with the usual standards of society and law-abiding citizenship. Every organization affiliated with the university or using its name is expected to conduct all its affairs in a manner creditable to the university.

While enrolled, students are subject to university authority. The university has the prerogative, in the interest of all of its students, to suspend or require the withdrawal of a student or group of students for acting in such a manner as to make it apparent that the student or group of students are not desirable members of the university. See also “Classroom Disruption” under “Academic Regulations.” Copies of the most current Student Judicial Code may be obtained from Judicial Affairs.

General Regulations

Students at Northern Illinois University are expected to abide by the university regulations set forth below as well as by applicable federal, state, and local laws. While the university will normally apply disciplinary sanctions only for violations of its regulations, a student is subject to public laws at all times, including the Illinois Compiled Statutes which contain provisions specifically directed at maintaining the orderly operation of state colleges and universities. It is the responsibility of the student to be particularly aware of the provisions of the Criminal Code in the Illinois Compiled Statutes and to be aware of the penalties therein provided for Criminal Damage to State Supported Property, Criminal Trespass to State Supported Land, Unauthorized Possession or Storage of Weapons, and Interference with a Public Institution of Higher Education. (In addition, the Criminal Code in the Illinois Compiled Statutes contains provisions relating to disorderly conduct, theft, inflicting bodily harm, arson, property damage, gambling, the use of drugs, mob action, and sex offenses.) Conviction for offenses enumerated in the Criminal Code additionally makes almost certain the loss of federal- and state-supported scholarships, loans, or other grants.

Failure to abide by the following regulations may result, after a hearing by one of the University Judicial Boards or a representative of Judicial Affairs, in disciplinary sanctions including, but not limited to warning, disciplinary probation, suspension, and dismissal from the university.

Sanctions may result from

academic dishonesty. Plagiarism, cheating, knowingly supplying false or misleading information to university officials or on official university records, forgery, and alteration or misuse of university documents, records, or identification cards all are prohibited.
obstruction or disruption of university activities . A student or students may not knowingly or willfully interfere with the normal educational activities of the university including teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures, or other university activities, including its public service functions. Disruption of university activities includes but is not limited to obstruction of access to the facilities of the university including corridors and doorways; interference with classroom activities or other scheduled events; interference with the performance of the duties of any institutional employee. Picketing may be permitted, but only under the following conditions: Students who picket on university premises must do so in peaceful and orderly fashion. Picketing should not involve invasion of the rights of others, interference with the operations of the university, or jeopardy to public order and safety. Specifically, the following conditions must be met.

Automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic must not be obstructed.
Entrances to buildings and driveways must not be blocked or traffic interfered with.
Picketing inside university buildings is prohibited.
There will be no disturbing of classes by noise or by other means.
There will be no harassing of passers-by or other interference with their activities.
There will be no damage to property, including lawns and shrubs, nor littering of premises with signs, leaflets, or other materials.

failure to abide by regulations governing the use of university premises and facilities. No student shall remain alone or with others in a university building beyond its normal closing hours unless duly authorized by a university official nor shall an individual remain in a university building after being notified to depart therefrom by an authorized university official. Unauthorized entry to or use of university facilities is also prohibited.
theft or damage. A student or students may take no action or actions which damages or which as a probable consequence could damage property of the university or private property.
physical abuse of persons. A student or students may take no action or actions which disrupts or which as a probable consequence could disrupt the public peace or which endangers the safety, health, physical or mental well being, or life of any person.
dangerous and narcotic drugs. A student may not use, possess, sell, or distribute any of the narcotic, dangerous, or hallucinogenic drugs in any form except under the direction of a licensed physician or as expressly permitted by law.
firearms. Students may not have or keep any firearm on their persons, in their quarters, or in their motor vehicles at any time while on university property except with the permission of the chief security officer of the university.
alcoholic beverages. Delivery and sale of alcoholic beverages on university property is prohibited. Possession and use of alcoholic beverages on university property is restricted by the laws of the state of Illinois as to age and by the regulations of the university as to physical location.
instructions from university officials. A student must follow the oral or written instructions regarding university regulations or state law given by any university official whom the Board of Trustees or the President has vested with the authority to give such instructions.
university regulations. Students are responsible for knowing and abiding by university regulations and policies, including those not specifically enumerated in these general regulations, concerning such matters as the meeting of financial obligations to the university, university motor vehicle and parking regulations, registration of student organizations, as well as specific rules governing the use of particular facilities such as the residence halls, the libraries, and the Holmes Student Center.


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