VII.11. Disciplinary Actions

Failure of faculty members and staff to abide by the university’s guidelines for professional behavior may result in disciplinary action. These guidelines cover a range of issues:

  • Affirmative Action and Diversity. University policies prohibit discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or any other factor unrelated to professional qualifications. Consistent with the importance of these objectives, the university maintains an accessible, diligent, and responsive complaint resolution system. Such procedures are outlined online at the AADR website.
  • Civil and professional interaction. In order to promote NIU’s commitment to civil and professional interactions among faculty and staff, the university has in place disciplinary procedures to maintain an environment “that is free from incivility, misuse of authority, intimidation, retaliation, and infringement upon personal and academic freedoms.” Good faith claims of uncivil and unprofessional behavior may be addressed through NIU’s Grievance Procedure. See Bylaws, Article 11.
  • Research integrity. The integrity of the research endeavor ultimately depends on the ethics of the individual researcher and rigorous professional review. While honest error or differences of opinion can and do occur in the research enterprise, the key to defining research misconduct is intent. The review process for cases of alleged misconduct consists of four phases: informal review, referral to appropriate university officer, inquiry, and investigation. These are discussed in detail online at Research Integrity at Northern Illinois University.
  • Institutional Biosafety Policy. Those research and classroom activities that involve recombinant DNA, potentially pathogenic substances/ toxins, and/or human tissue/ body fluids must be carried out in accordance with applicable federal, state and local regulations and this policy, irrespective of the source of funding. Laboratory facilities and researchers who are found to be in non-compliance may be referred for disciplinary action. It is the department chair’s responsibility to make the appropriate faculty members aware of NIU’s Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) and to work with the IBC to ensure compliance.