Responding to Student Misconduct

Guidelines for Faculty & Staff

Marshall University recognizes the important role faculty and staff members have in setting the educational tone of their classrooms and living learning environments. Setting clear guidelines for behavior and following clear protocols for classroom disruption can go a long way toward ensuring a safe and productive learning environment. In addition, the BIT is a resource for dealing with concerning or problematic behavior.

Tips for Preventing Misconduct in the Classroom

Set clear standards for behavior in your classroom. Just as faculty members determine academic standards and evaluate student performance according to those standards, it is recommended that faculty members determine and clearly communicate social conduct standards for their classroom (no chatting in class, reading newspapers, sleeping, using cell phones, etc.). For courses with online components, it is recommended that expectations regarding electronic communications be included. Provide specific information in the syllabus regarding your classroom expectations in addition to a reference to the Student Code of Conduct. Taking these steps not only sends a message to potentially disruptive students but also communicates to all other students that you will ensure a classroom environment free from disruption.

Recommendations for Responding to Misconduct in the Classroom

Please note that progression through these steps depends upon the level and repetition of misconduct. Ideally, most incidents of misconduct will be remedied at Step 1 or Step 2.

  1. Provide an oral warning to student at the time that inappropriate behavior occurs. Consider reminding the entire class regarding your expectations.
  2. Talk to the student individually after class or ask them to schedule a meeting with you. If you are not able to talk with the student individually prior to the next class period, you may contact the student by phone, e-mail, or letter. During the discussion with the student, clarify your expectations for classroom conduct and seek the student’s cooperation in meeting those expectations. Indicate that further incidents may result in the student being asked to leave class and that if such response is necessary, a report will also be submitted to the Office of Student Conduct for further disciplinary action. DOCUMENT all information relevant to the student’s misconduct. You may wish to file a behavior concern and fill out a behavior report form for those behaviors that raises “red flags” beyond ordinary classroom disruptions. NOTE: Step 1 and 2 may both occur during a single class period if a student fails to correct the behavior after being warned by the instructor. If the oral warning does not remedy the situation and the inappropriate behavior continues:
  3. If the behavior persists beyond the oral warning or is so disruptive that immediate action is necessary, ask the student to leave the class for the remainder of the class period. If the student refuses to leave the class, call Marshall University Police 304-696-4357. If necessary, temporarily adjourn until the police arrive. If continued exclusion from the class is deemed necessary by the instructor, a conference between the instructor, Department Chair, and student must be held as soon as possible to determine if further action is warranted. DOCUMENT all relevant information. Provide a copy of the documentation to the Department Chair and to the Office of Student Conduct. File a report of the incident or concern with the Office of Student Conduct.
  4. Upon receipt of the behavior report form, the BIT will investigate the incident and make recommendations. In addition to review by the Behavioral Intervention Team, the investigation may include meetings with the student, faculty member, and Department Chair. The faculty member and Department Chair will be informed of the results of the investigation. If disciplinary action is to be taken, a student has the right to a formal hearing on the charges and actions through the Office of Student Conduct.

Meeting with an Angry or Potentially Threatening Student

Do not meet alone with a student whom you feel may be a threat to your personal safety. Instead of asking to meet after class, schedule a specific appointment so that you have time to prepare for the meeting. You may call a member of the Behavioral Intervention Team for consultation or assistance prior to the meeting.

Alert and confer with your Department Chair and/or colleagues as to when the student will be meeting with you and ask one of them to either be on standby or to join in the meeting.