Guidelines for Faculty Members Regarding
Student Conduct in Instructional Settings and
in Online Courses and Discussions

The instructor has ultimate control over classroom behavior and may dismiss or remove from the classroom any student engaged in disruptive conduct. Disruptive student conduct is defined as conduct which may include, but is not limited to, interfering with classroom procedures, the presentation of the instructor or other students, and another student's right to pursue coursework.

The following guidelines are intended to supplement existing University policies and to suggest alternative methods of addressing student conduct in the classroom setting and in online courses or discussions. These guidelines are not intended to be exclusive. Faculty members should exercise their best judgment in setting standards of conduct for their classes and for taking a reasonable approach in responding to disruptive behaviors.

Procedures

Management Strategies

  1. Faculty members may wish to describe in an introductory lecture expected standards for class conduct.
  2. Some faculty members may want to include a statement in the course syllabus defining expectations for classroom conduct.
    Sample Statement Defining Expectations for Classroom Conduct

Responding to Non-threatening Disruptive Students

    1. Depending on the circumstances, the initial approach may include discussion with the disruptive student about the disruptive behavior. This discussion should be conducted in private.
      1. Should the faculty member suspect that substance abuse might be a factor in the student's behavior, the faculty member should refer the student to Counseling Services or to the Dean of Students. If warranted, faculty may call and make an appointment for the student at Counseling Services or accompany the student to Counseling Services.
      2. Should the discussion indicate that the disruptive behavior may be related to a physical or mental disability, faculty should remind the student of the ability to request a reasonable accommodation of a documented disability and also inform the student that services and resources are available in the Student Access Center.
    2. A faculty member may issue a written warning to a student. Such a warning might include the following:
      1. the nature of the disruptive behavior;
      2. the effect of the behavior on the learning environment; and
      3. possible consequences if the behavior continues.

A written warning is not required as a prerequisite to other disciplinary action.

  1. Faculty members have ultimate control over classroom behavior and may dismiss or remove from the classroom any student engaged in disruptive conduct. Faculty members are encouraged to discuss the situation with their department head. Temporary suspension from the class should not exceed three days. Suspension exceeding three days or a permanent dismissal from the class must be discussed in advance with the department head or chair, the Dean of Student Life and the University Attorney's Office.

Responding to Threatening Behavior

  1. Ask the student to leave the classroom for the remainder of the period. In issuing a directive to leave, the faculty member is the sole judge of whether a student's conduct is sufficiently disruptive to warrant dismissal from the classroom.
  2. A faculty member may adjourn the class and/or seek assistance, as the faculty member deems necessary. This assistance may include contacting the University Police, department head or chair, and/or Counseling Services.

Responding to Online Disruptions

Strategies described in these Guidelines also apply to disruptive online behaviors. Removal of a student's online access should be discussed in advance with the department head or chair, the Dean of Student Life and the University Attorney's Office.

Other Considerations

  1. Faculty members should be careful where issues of academic free speech might be involved. Faculty members wanting to discuss free speech issues may contact the Office of Academic Personnel or the University Attorney's Office.
  2. Faculty members should be consistent in applying the same standard to all students to avoid any perceptions of discriminatory treatment.