Disruptive Classroom Behavior
The classroom is meant to be a place where the free flow of ideas is encouraged and nurtured. It is not a forum for students to make hurtful and demeaning remarks, or otherwise disrupt the teaching of the class. From time to time, however, instructors may encounter students who act in ways that seriously disrupt the instructional process of the classroom.
When confronted with these disruptive students, here are key points you should keep in mind:
- Trained colleagues, including mental health professionals, are available to assist instructors in responding to students.
- The Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education (Office of Student Academic Affairs) can take disciplinary action, up to and including removal from the classroom, if students engage in destructive behavior.
- If at any point you, as an instructor, feel threatened, or there is a safety concern in your classroom, the Department of Public Safety and Security (DPSS) should be called.
- (Emergency: 911).
Note that many campus offices often work together to find appropriate outcomes when classroom instructors are confronted with difficult cases. While protecting the instructional process, every effort is made to ensure that students are treated fairly and with compassion.
Faculty members should contact Asst. Dean Nurse to discuss non-emergency disruptive student behavior.
Some disruptions may contradict the values of the University community and are subject to action under the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
The University's Policy on Disruptive Behavior (from the Faculty Handbook) is listed below.
If there is an immediate threat of violence or other dangerous situation or emergency, 911 should be called promptly.
Below are various campus and college contacts of which you should be aware:
Esrold Nurse, Assistant Dean
This office can serve to facilitate the appropriate response in the event that a student is disruptive and assist in finding an appropriate outcome.
Dean of Students Office
This office is responsible for overall management of critical incidents and emergencies.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
Hours: Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri: 8am – 5pm
Web site: caps.umich.edu
This office offers a variety of short-term personal counseling, educational, and skill-building services to students, including crisis intervention, brief personal counseling, and short-term psychotherapy.
Office of Student Conflict Resolution (OSCR)
OSCR serves as a campus resource for conflict management by providing proactive and preventive educational programming for students, student groups and campus departments, and by striving to set the national standard for campus conflict resolution.
Department of Public Safety and Security
This office can respond at any time when anyone is threatened.
For helpful hints in dealing with difficult situations
8.D.7 Disruptive Behavior (from the Faculty Handbook)http://www.provost.umich.edu/faculty/handbook/8/8.D.html#8.D.7
If a faculty member encounters a student who is behaving in a disruptive or dangerous way in a classroom or other University setting, he or she needs first to determine if there is an immediate threat of violence or other dangerous situation or emergency. If so, 911 should be called promptly, usually by someone else so the faculty member can remain in charge of the class. If there is not an emergency situation, the faculty member should try to calm the immediate situation, dismissing the class if necessary, and then seek assistance from the department chair, the dean's office, the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel (764-0304), and/or the Department of Public Safety on the Ann Arbor Campus at 763-3434, the Campus Safety Department on the Dearborn Campus at 313/593-5333, or the Department of Public Safety on the Flint Campus at 810/762-3335. The University's Campus Safety Handbook contains useful information and suggestions about how to handle an emergency situation and is available at <http://police.umich.edu/docs/clery.pdf>.
If there is a repeated or regular problem, faculty should seek assistance from the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel. If a student exhibits disruptive behavior over a period of time, faculty may wish to call the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs (764-5132) to discuss the appropriateness of a Mental Health Advisory Committee review. This is a confidential process that will result in a recommendation to the Vice President. Faculty may also call Counseling and Psychological Services (764-8312) for assistance in determining how to best help a student who is experiencing serious psychological difficulties. Disruption of a class or other University activity by a student may be a violation of the Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities. The faculty member should contact the Office of Student Conflict Resolution for more information at 936-6308.
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