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Guide to Classroom Disruptions

Classroom Management:


As faculty members, there may come a time when you have to address misconduct that occurs in the classroom. The Code of Student Conduct related to the classroom is Disrupting the Academic Process, including the following:

Interference or disruptive activity or behavior that impedes, impairs or obstructs teaching, research, administration, procedures, or other University missions, processes, functions, or other authorized activities including its public service function of other authorized activities on University premises or which inhibits full exercise of rights by others.

To assist you in addressing these types of incidents, the Office of Student Conduct recommends the following guidelines:

Set clear standards of behavior: 

Setting clear expectations of student behavior at the beginning of a course is a powerful deterrent to inappropriate behavior. Faculty members should consider taking the first class to acclimate students to the Big Red Restart and Mask Policy, stating their expectations for classroom behavior.

Next you should refer to your syllabus statement and verbally define your own expectations and consequences for inappropriate behaviors. However, if such a statement is included in your syllabus, students should be afforded the means by which they can address any questions or concerns they have with the standards of behavior policy.  Therefore you should provide your contact information as the course administrator and your department head for any follow-up concerns that may arise. 

Please be advised:  Any changes to your syllabus as related to the mask behavior policy should be presented to students in writing.

Confront the behavior with care:

When students do not act in accordance to the policy or syllabus guidelines in class, it is important to confront the behavior as soon as possible. If it becomes necessary to address a student in public, try to do so in a firm and friendly manner. Identify the inappropriate behavior and stay on target with your expectation. Explain how it is disruptive to the rest of the class, and request that it not be repeated. Rather than address one individual, it usually causes less embarrassment to use a general statement such as, "We are all to wear our masks while in class” or “there are too many people talking at one time, let's all get focused on the same topic."  The student must always be treated with dignity, respect and courtesy, not only to role-model civil behavior but also to keep the situation from escalating.


If the behavior continues, request the student leave the class

Faculty have the authority to request a student that disrupts the academic process to leave a class for the remainder of the period. However, faculty do not have the authority to expel students from class, either on an interim or permanent basis, or require them to drop the course. University processes and procedures must be followed to determine if a student will be removed from a class or be required to drop the course by The Office of Student Conduct in consult with The Dean of Students.

What if the Student becomes disruptive and unruly:

If a student appears to be highly agitated, becomes disruptive or unruly and on the verge of violent behavior, avoid confrontation. Consider dismissing the class and summoning University Police or other appropriate police agency serving the campus. Do not attempt to use force or threats of force except for immediate self-defense. Note the facts, identify possible witnesses, and notify The Office of Student Conduct and your department chair (or equivalent)

What to do after a violation occurs and the student is asked to leave:

If the request to be dismissed was done so with respect your authority:  Meet with the student (via the modality befitting your comfort level) as soon as possible to explain the inappropriateness of his or her behavior. This step affords patience and care for the student and provide a mutual understanding and agreed outcome. Follow up the discussion in writing (via email and update the The Office of Student Conduct ), repeating the nature of the problem and what you and the student have agreed is necessary to resolve it. Point out that if the behavior continues, you will have to file a complaint with the Office of Student Conduct. The Office of Student Conduct will send the student a non-disciplinary warning letter for the first offense stating that if the student does not comply with the expectation to wear a face covering, they will be charged with a violation of the Student Conduct Code and subject to removal from the course. Students are allowed back to class after this warning letter is sent and confirmed receipt with communication the reporting party.

**If a student returns to class without this notificaiton and they are in compliance proceed with the class and follow-up with The Office of Student Conduct.


If you are concerned about your personal safety in a private meeting, consider asking your department chair (or equivalent) or another faculty member to be present.  Due to COVID-19 we ask that meeting occur via Zoom.


If behaviors are persistent and do not improve, file a report with the Office of Student Conduct:

If a second offense occurs*, the instructor will ask the student to leave class. The Office of Student Conduct will review the report and may charge the student with a violation of the Student Conduct Code, subject to the range of outcome fitting the violation.

Students involved in a serious disruption of the learning environment will not be permitted to return to class until the University conduct procedures have been completed. Excused violations of this policy and or syllabus guideline that results in fewer than two class absences related to this process should be excused (at the Faculty's authority) and student should be allowed the flexibility to make up class work or attendance for that day. Communication and follow-up to the reporting party will occur upon the student's completion the steps associated with the Process. Faculty within the Handbook that the right to withdraw a student from the course.

The department head (or equivalent at extended campus locations) should also be notified when continuing disruptions occur.

*There may be instances in which a student forgets to wear their face covering more than one time. It is up to the instructor’s discretion to determine if the student is unwilling to comply or simply forgot and needs a subsequent reminder. At any point, the instructor is encouraged to have an educational conversation if the student repeatedly forgets but willfully complies when reminded. (ensure that this practice is fair and equitable)


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 Last Modified 8/17/20