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All students are expected to be in compliance with Indiana University's Code of Student Rights,
Responsibilities, and Conduct both within and outside the classroom. Disturbances which occur
in a teaching/learning context are particularly troublesome, as they disrupt the primary function
of the University. Part II, Section H (6) of the Code indicates that "obstructive and disruptive
conduct which interferes with teaching, research, administration, other university or university
authorized activity" may result in disciplinary sanctions against students who commit such acts.
When this behavior occurs in a learning environment, however, faculty and staff members must
be prepared to cope with the immediacy of the problem as well as be involved in the
procedures to be followed to hold the student accountable for his/her behavior.
"Disruption" is defined as any behavior that seriously interferes with other students' ability to
engage in learning and /or the faculty or staff member's ability to provide instruction or service.
These behaviors are considered personal misconduct as defined in the Code of Student Rights,
Responsibilities and Conduct and should be appropriately addressed via these guidelines.
These behaviors are not subject to penalties that can be imposed due to academic misconduct.
Thus, disruption requires alternate methods of resolution. Note: any violation of the weapons
policy of Indiana University is considered disruptive behavior.
It should be noted that ongoing behaviors or single behaviors that might be considered to be
distracting are not the focus of these guidelines. Behaviors such as these (e.g., coming late to
class, performing a repetitive act that is annoying-tapping fingers, chewing gum, or making a
comment in a rude or crude manner, sleeping, reading a newspaper) can be addressed
generally through conventional classroom management techniques and/or by speaking with a
student privately after class. Cases in which such annoying behavior becomes excessive and the
student refuses to respond to general classroom management techniques can be referred to
the Office of Student Affairs and handled according to personal misconduct procedures
in the Code.
Strategies to prevent and respond to disruptive behavior include the following:
A. Each instructor should prepare his/her students, either via the course syllabus or verbally
during the first class period or both, regarding the expectations he/she has regarding
the standards for the course.
B. If a student becomes disruptive (e.g., refuses to quit talking; blocks an entry way; throws
things; uses profane, intimidating, or abusive language; repeatedly interrupts others'
speech; moves within the classroom without authorization) an instructor should first
request compliance from the student. Remain calm and request compliance from the
student in concrete terms (e.g., "please lower your voice" or "please sit in your chair").
C. If request for compliance is not received, the instructor may dismiss the student for the
remainder of the class period. If the student fails to leave after being directed to do so, the
instructor should enlist the support of other University personnel (faculty members,
academic administrators, campus police) to help resolve the situation and communicate
that the behavior is subject to disciplinary proceedings of the university. Physical force,
including touching, must be avoided, and the instructor must judge, based on the nature of
the disruption, whether the class period can continue once the offending student departs.
D. If a student is violent or threatening, remove yourself and instruct others to remove
themselves from the situation and summon University Police (941-2400) as quickly as
possible. Prepare a written account of the incident(s). Identify witnesses for the University
Police, as needed.
Response to the Disturbance
1. Subsequent to the class period, the instructor should consult with his/her unit head
regarding the circumstances of the removal of the student.
2. Written notification of the incident should be submitted to the
Office of Student Affairs immediately.
3. The unit head (or designee) should contact the student to arrange a meeting to determine
whether or not the student, in the judgment of the unit head (or designee), is capable of
returning to the classroom and conducting himself/herself within acceptable standards of
behavior. This meeting may involve the instructor, if all parties agree. This meeting should
occur, if possible, prior to the next class session.
4. If the unit head (or designee), perhaps in conjunction with other campus resources, can
settle any dispute that exists between the instructor and the student as a result of the
student's removal, this also should be done prior to the next class period, if possible.
5. If such meetings cannot take place prior to the next scheduled meeting of the class and the
unit head believes the offense committed by the student warrants the student's removal
from one or more future meetings of the class, the unit head shall notify the student that
he or she is restricted from attending class until further notification.
6. If a decision to remove a student from a course due to disruptive behavior is made for any
length of time, the unit head endorsing the decision is to notify the Office of Student
Affairs of such action.
Office of Student Affairs Response to Classroom Disruption
The Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs or designee can review University conduct procedures with
you, and meet with accused students formally or informally. It is important to report disruptive
incidents promptly, even if they seem minor. The University may also coordinate a plan to deal
with the student's immediate needs (e.g., registration, possibility of moving to another section of
a course) and/or long term needs (e.g., counseling, what to do if further disturbances occur,
referral for disciplinary action) and will discuss any ramifications of possible actions. If disciplinary
action is recommended, the Office of Student Affairs will administer this process according to
procedures in the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct.
Guidelines for Dealing with Disruptive Students in Academic Settings
( B y A c t i o n o f t h e Un i v e r s i t y F a c u l t y Co u n c i l : Ap r i l 1 2 , 2 0 0 5 ) Ad a p t e d f o r I n d i a n a Un i v e r s i t y S o u t h e a s t C amp u s
1 2,3
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