APPENDIX Q - Responding to Disruption in the Academic Setting

1.  Purpose: This document is designed to provide faculty and other University personnel guidance in responding to disruption in the academic setting. Disruption by a student in a Ball State classroom or other academic setting is a violation of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, specifically

5.2.9 Obstruction or Disruption - Obstructing or disrupting the teaching and/or learning process in any campus classroom, building, or meeting area, or any University-sponsored activity, pedestrian or vehicular traffic, classes, lectures or meetings, obstructing or restricting another person’s freedom of movement, or inciting, aiding, or encouraging other persons to do so. See also Regulations for Use of Property for Expressive Activity, Appendix N and Responding to Conduct in the Academic Setting, Appendix P.

2. Definitions

2.1  Disruption is defined as any “behavior a reasonable person would view as being likely to substantially or repeatedly interfere with the conduct of” an academic setting.

2.1.1  Some behaviors or single incidents of some behaviors are not the focus of these guidelines. These include but are not limited to coming late to or leaving early from class, tapping fingers, chewing gum, reading a newspaper, and using electronic devices without authorization. While annoying and distracting, these usually can be addressed effectively through conventional classroom management techniques that include addressing behavior expectations in the syllabus and during the first class period, in-class intervention, and speaking to a student after class.

2.1.2  However, students who exhibit behaviors listed above and who do not respond to reasonable intervention, who exhibit more severe behaviors, or who violate another University policy in an academic setting (e.g., intoxication, weapons policy violation) should be referred for adjudication through procedures outlined in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Such behaviors include but are not limited to

a. repeated and unauthorized use of cell phones, pagers or other technical devices

b. persistent speaking without being called upon or disregarding instructor’s requests

c. making loud or distracting noises

d. making physical or verbal threats

e. engaging in behaviors reasonable people consider intimidating

2.2  Academic Setting is defined to be a classroom, office, laboratory, library, field experience site, online forums or other venues where instruction, advising, or service occurs.

3. Guidelines for Intervening When Disruption Occurs 

3.1 Faculty members and administrators have the authority to instruct the student to leave temporarily the academic setting where disruption is taking place. For instance, in the case of a classroom setting, the faculty member may instruct the student to leave for the remainder of a class period. The student should be told the reason for this request and instructed to meet with the instructor, administrator or a staff member from the Office of Student Rights and Community Standards prior to returning to the next class. The instructor should consult promptly with the department chair or designee and the Office of Student Rights and Community Standards. If the student refuses to leave, University Police should be called and requested to remove the student from the academic setting.

3.2 Suspensions for more than one class period or restrictions from entering a service office require disciplinary procedures outlined in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

3.2.1 These procedures, conducted by the Office of Student Rights and Community Standards, include notifying the student of the complaint, providing the student with an opportunity in a hearing to defend against the complaint, and ensuring the decision is made based on substantial information.

3.2.2 Outcomes of disciplinary procedures can include finding the student not responsible or finding the student responsible for a violation of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Sanctions imposed can range from official reprimand to suspension or expulsion in the most severe cases.

3.2.3 A student may also be restricted from returning to a specific classroom or to using an alternative method of accessing services. In the case of restriction from a specific class, the student may be withdrawn administratively from the class with transcript notation (i.e., W, WP, WF, etc.) to be determined by nature and severity of disruption, timing of withdrawal, and other relevant circumstances.

3.3. This policy does not replace or modify facility usage policies already in place (e.g., University Libraries, Student Recreation and Wellness Center, residence halls).

Student Rights and Community Standards
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Muncie, IN 47306

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