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

4.2.8 Obstruction or Disruption - Obstructing or disrupting the teaching and/or learning process in any campus classroom, building, or meeting area, or any University-sponsored event or 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. Note: obstruction or disruption as prohibited here only occurs on campus or in relation to a University-sponsored event or activity including but not limited to field trips, athletic events, study abroad, or alumni events.

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, eating, reading unrelated materials, 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

Faculty members, through classroom management techniques, should take steps to de-escalate and resolve the disruption. Faculty members and administrators have the authority to instruct the student to temporarily leave the academic setting when a student fails to comply with reasonable standards and management directives, but asking a student to leave should not be the first attempt at resolution. If a student is asked to leave, the student should be told the reason for this request and instructed to communicate with the instructor or administrator prior to returning to the next class. The instructor should consult promptly with the department chair or designee.

The faculty member will then choose one of the following three options for resolution: 

  1. If the faculty member and/or department chairperson believe that the situation is reconcilable, a conference between the faculty member and the student should be held. The consequences of continued improper behavior and strategies for ending such behavior should be discussed at this meeting. At the conclusion of this meeting, the incident should be documented by submitting a report to www.bsu.edu/saysomething select Student Conduct Referral and nature as Information Only. The faculty member is able to copy other administrators on this report based on department/college policy

  2. If the faculty member/department cannot resolve the situation, an incident report should be filed with the Office of Student Conduct to review the situation for potential violations of the Code. The reporter may be the involved faculty member or academic staff person, the department chair, a witness to the event, or any other knowledgeable third party including students. Upon receipt of the incident report, the Office of Student Conduct will proceed as described in section VI of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

  3. If there is an immediate perceived threat or act of violence, University Police should be contacted by dialing 911. Once the immediate threat is resolved, the reporter should submit an incident report to the Office of Student Conduct for review.

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