Oregon State University

Disruptive Behavior

An image of a facultulty member gesticulating during class discussion.

In an academic community, students, faculty and staff each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate environment conducive to learning. Students, faculty and staff have the responsibility to treat each other with understanding, dignity and respect. Disruption of teaching, administration, research, and other institutional activities is prohibited in the Student Conduct Code, which states: 

Obstruction or disruption of teaching, learning, research, administration, disciplinary procedures, or other institutional activities, including the institution's public service functions or other authorized activities on institutionally-owned or controlled property. Disruptive behavior may include but is not limited to the following, where it has the effect of obstructing or disrupting the University activities listed above:

a) repeatedly leaving and entering the classroom without authorization;
b) making loud or distracting noises;
c) arriving late or leaving early;
d) persisting in speaking without being recognized;
e) behavior that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety.

The instructor has authority to manage the classroom environment, which may include requiring a Student to leave when the Student's behavior disrupts the teaching or learning environment. If the Student refuses to leave, the instructor may call the Department of Public Safety (541-737-7000) for assistance and should submit an Incident Report Form to SCCS to initiate disciplinary proceedings.


 

What is considered disruptive behavior? 

  • being late, reading the paper, sleeping in class
  • making noises, repeatedly interrupting
  • passing notes, answering cell phone
  • harassing behavior, personal insults, inappropriate language
  • physical threats or actions
  • refusal to comply with faculty or staff direction
  • persistent and unreasonable demands for time and attention both in and out of the classroom
  • demands for services unrelated to the unit
  • unwillingness to cooperate when a solution is being sought

What should NOT be considered disruptive behavior? 

  • cultural differences
  • most disagreements or differences of opinion
  • situational frustration
  • needing extra time or attention for a special reason
  • distressed behavior

Avoiding disruptive behavior: 

  • articulate clear classroom expectations in the syllabus; review these during class
  • develop agreements as a class during the first session
  • respond to problems quickly and consistently

Addressing disruptive behavior: 

  • correct innocent mistakes and minor first offenses gently
  • give a general word of caution to the entire class
  • if possible, speak with the student privately after class
  • when necessary, correct the student courteously and indicate that further discussion can occur after class
  • for persistently disruptive behavior you may ask the student to leave class for the remainder of the period. Follow up to provide rationale and time for discussion
  • consult with a colleague to provide you guidance and accountability
  • if there is threat of violence or other unlawful behavior, call Public Safety at 541-737-7000

When to consult with the Student Conduct and Community Standards office: 

  • You know you can't handle the behavior
  • You believe personality differences will interfere with your ability to resolve the situation
  • You are unsure how to proceed

How to make a report or referral to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards: 

  • Document the situation, including your attempts to resolve it
  • Submit an online Student Conduct Incident Report Form
  • Call the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards at 541-737-3656 for assistance

Additional Resources:

Contact Info

Copyright ©  2014 Oregon State University
Disclaimer
Student Conduct and Community Standards
B-058 Kerr Administration
Building
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR  97331
(541) 737-3656
SCCS@oregonstate.edu