Classroom Disruption Policy
Disruptive classroom behavior is behavior taking place in an academic classroom or forum, both physically or virtually, that impedes normal academic functions. This includes behavior that interferes with other students’ opportunity to learn, and/or interferes with a faculty member’s ability to teach or maintain a classroom environment conducive to student learning. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Persistently speaking without being recognized
- Posting virtual content not relevant to the class
- Non-approved use of electronic devices
- Failure to comply with course instructor directives
- In extreme cases, physical threats, harassing behavior or personal insults
Civil expression of disagreement with the course instructor, during times when the instructor permits discussion, is not in itself disruptive behavior and is not prohibited (see the Freedom of Expression Policy & Academic Inquiry Policy).
Faculty are encouraged to minimize the occurrence of classroom disruptions by stating reasonable expectations in advance. Faculty are encouraged to include this policy within their syllabi as a starting point, and to also engage with students about expectations in class. At the beginning of a semester, faculty may want to explain the rationale for your classroom expectations and to invite students to engage in conversation about boundaries for the classroom experience. Encourage students to engage with creating the learning environment that is best for everyone and to hold themselves and their peers accountable to maintaining that environment.
Response Options for Classroom Disruption
Informal Faculty Intervention
When disruptive classroom behavior occurs, a faculty member may first choose to meet with a student to provide feedback about the student’s behavior, to re-engage the student around established expectations, and to suggest more appropriate behavior moving forward. This conversation can include a verbal warning to the student about the possible consequences for continued behavior. The faculty member should document this conversation in an email to the student after the discussion concludes.
If the disruptive classroom behavior persists after faculty engagement or becomes more egregious in nature, a faculty member may choose to ask the student to leave for the remainder of a class period. Any time behavior becomes disruptive enough that a faculty member asks the student to leave for the remainder of the class period, the faculty member must notify their Department Chair immediately following class. The Department Chair will then either hold a meeting with the faculty member and the student to discuss the situation, which might result in the development of a signed agreement about appropriate behavior moving forward, or may elevate the issue to the attention of the Dean of the College.
Dean of the College
If the inclusion of the Department Chair does not result in a cessation of disruptive behavior in the classroom, the Dean of the College will be notified. Once the Dean of the College has been notified, the student will not be permitted to attend their class. The Dean of the College will meet with the student and faculty member to hear their perspectives (and, as appropriate, will consult with the Department Chair, Director of the College Advising Center, the Director of Student Rights & Responsibilities, and/or the Dean of Students) and to determine next steps to remedy the disruptive behavior. The Dean of the College has discretion in determining if a student may return to class and under what circumstances they may return. They may also consider if it is appropriate to administratively withdraw the student from the course and/or if their case should be referred for additional formal adjudication through the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities to determine if the student’s behavior also violates the Student Code of Conduct.
If the Dean of the College determines that administratively withdrawing a student from their course is appropriate, the Dean of the College should notify the student in writing of this decision. The student will have five (5) business days after being notified to submit a written “Request for Reconsideration” to the Dean of the College. A request for reconsideration must demonstrate either that there is new information or other relevant facts not known when the decision was made, or that there was a violation of fair process in the decision to withdraw the student from the course. The Dean of the College may choose to uphold their decision or reverse it and set expectations for the students’ return to the classroom. However, once a decision is made, it is final. During this reconsideration period, the student will continue to be barred from class.
If a student is referred to the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities for formal adjudication, procedures are outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.
When to Contact Campus Safety
Campus Safety should be contacted in the event of violent, abusive, or threatening behavior. This includes any attempted, threatened, or actual conduct that endangers or is likely to endanger a person’s health or safety, or that would reasonably cause a person to feel their health or safety would be at risk. Campus Safety may also be contacted when a student fails to leave a classroom when asked to do so by their faculty member. Campus Safety will provide a report to the Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities in regards to possible additional policy violations, such as the Violent, Abusive or Threatening Conduct Policy.
Last revised on February 7th, 2022.