Faculty Guidelines on Student Conduct

Armstrong State University is committed to creating an intellectual environment where classroom activity is focused on learning and demonstrating mastery of the subject. In the classroom, freedom of expression on academic subjects is respected and encouraged for students and faculty alike, within the framework of the course syllabus, as well as student and faculty codes of conduct. The following guidelines are intended to assist faculty members in setting standards of conduct for their classes and strategies for addressing distressed or disruptive students.

Distressed and Disruptive Student Behavior

Distressed students are those experiencing emotional and/or psychological problems that are interfering with their ability to learn.

Disruptive students are those whose behavior makes teaching and learning difficult for others in the class.



I. Faculty members encounter fewer problems with student behavior when they clearly state the importance of respectful classroom behavior and clarify their expectations.

At the first class meeting, it would be helpful to explain that:

a. Armstrong expects students to maintain high standards of personal integrity and to respect the rights, privileges and property of other people.

b. Specific expectations of the faculty member should be spelled out in the syllabus, which is distributed to each member of the class. (Code of Conduct, Section V. A 1-14, Armstrong Catalog)

Common types of disruptive classroom behavior: monopolizing class discussion, using class discussions to speak on favorite topics with no regard to relevancy, sleeping in class, side conversations with others, excessive lateness, noisy beepers/cell phones, eating during class, bringing guests to class, comments in class and/or written memos that devalue others, verbal or physical threats to students or faculty.

c. While the university environment is a place where the free exchange of ideas and concepts can take place in an atmosphere that allows for debate and disagreement, all classroom behavior and discourse should reflect the values of respect and civility. Students and faculty both share the responsibility to maintain an appropriate learning environment that reflects these values.

d. Classroom disruption by students constitutes a serious breach of university behavior expectations. Faculty members will respond directly to behavior that is disruptive to the academic environment and they may require student(s) to leave the class until the concerns are resolved.

Faculty Response

II. Some disruptive students may have emotional or mental disorders. Although such students may be considered to have a disability and are protected under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and The Americans with Disabilities Act, they are expected to meet the same standards of conduct as any student. Individual faculty members are encouraged to provide a first-level response to problem student behavior unless they feel threatened or the behavior warrants more serious attention by the university. Experience indicates that despite the common fear that responding to problem behaviors will escalate the trouble, the opposite is true. Concurrently, other students have expressed gratitude when faculty members respond quickly and effectively to problem behaviors.

Responding to Non-Threatening Disruptive Students
An individual student exhibiting inappropriate behavior should be approached for a private conversation. The conversation should include a description of the problem behavior, why it is a problem, expectations of future behavior, and the specific consequence(s) of continued problems.

a. Should the instructor suspect that substance abuse and/or sexual assault might be a factor in the student's behavior; the faculty member should refer the student to the University Counseling Center (Compass Point Annex) or to the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs (MCC 211). If warranted, faculty may call and make an appointment for the student at the UCC or accompany the student to the UCC.

b. Should the discussion indicate that the disruptive behavior might be related to a physical or mental disability, faculty should remind the student of the ability to request a reasonable accommodation of a documented disability and also inform the student that services and resources are available in Disability Services (MCC second floor)

A mediated meeting with the appropriate department head may be used in an early meeting with the student and/or as a consequence of continued problems. It is important to write a letter to the student summarizing the conversation and send a copy to the department head.

Being proactive and directly confronting disruptive behavior reinforces to students that the classroom is a place of learning.


III. Many faculty generally find it helpful to consult their Department Head, Student Affairs Office or the University Counseling Center prior to confronting problem behavior. If the student has indicated that there is a disability, then consultation with the Director of Disability Services may be helpful. During early consultation, the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs can review any disciplinary records to determine if there is a prior pattern of behaviors. Through this consultative process strategies can be developed for working with the student.

Formal Referral to the University Disciplinary Process

IV. Most problem behaviors can be managed effectively by individual faculty members who respond quickly and clearly to students who are creating a problem. However, there are circumstances when a student does not respond appropriately and the behavior does not change. If this occurs, contacting the Student Affairs Office to review the incident(s) for possible disciplinary action is advised.

The purpose of an incident review is to discuss all of the facts of the incident(s) and to determine if a student may have violated the Code of Conduct. Students who are charged with an alleged violation of any university policy will be subject to the disciplinary process outlined in the Student Handbook. During the disciplinary process, the student may need to be moved to another section of the class or arrangements made to continue the course by other means.

A student who persists in disrupting a class may be directed by the faculty member to leave the classroom for the remainder of the class period. Whenever possible, prior consultation should be undertaken with the faculty member's Department Head and the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs.

Immediate Threat

V. In the event of an immediate threat to any member of the campus community or to university property, University Police should be contacted immediately by calling Ext. 3333 (344.3333). University Police officers will be able to assist the faculty member in defusing the situation and/or removing the student.

A student may be administratively withdrawn from the university when in the judgment of the Vice President of Student Affairs and the University Physician, if any, and after consultation with the student's parents and personal physician, if any, it is determined that the student suffers from a physical, mental, emotional or psychological health condition which poses a significant danger or threat to self or others. (Academic Policies & Programs-Armstrong catalog)

Responding to Online Disruptions

Strategies described in these Guidelines also apply to disruptive online behaviors. Removal of a student's online access should be discussed with the Department Head and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs.


For further information regarding student conduct disciplinary proceedings, please consult the Student Handbook

For information on identifying and referring a distressed student to the University Counseling Center

For information on documentation and accommodations provided by Disability Services

Student Affairs Office, Student Union, Room 206, 344.2514
Yvette Upton, Dean of Students/Associate Vice President for Student Affairs

University Counseling Center-Compass Point Annex, First floor, 344.2529
Director of Counseling Center

Disability Services, Memorial College Center, Room 207, 344.2744
Kelley Woodruff, Director


Click hereimage to download this as a PDF.