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Part 6. Student Affairs

Section IX. Student Conduct

D. Disruptive Behavior in the Classroom

The classroom is not an unstructured political forum. It is a center for study and understanding of described subject matter for which the instructor has professional responsibility and institutional accountability. Control of the order and direction of a class, as well as control of the scope and treatment of the subject matter, rests with the individual instructors free from distraction or disruption by students or others who may be in disagreement with the manner in which he or her discharges his or her responsibilities. Thus, disruption of the classroom insubordinate of the instructor's immediate authority is forbidden in order to reflect properly the obligation of each student to respect the rights of others in the maintenance of classroom order and in the observance of that standard of elementary courtesy, common to every intellectual discipline. A student may be removed from the course or receive a reduced grade resulting from disruptive classroom behavior.

The instructor has the right to impose sanctions in cases of disruptive classroom behavior. In taking such action the faculty member should follow these procedural steps:

1. Inform the student that the behavior in question is disrupting the class and request that the student discontinue the behavior. In the case of aggressive disruptive behavior, the instructor should ask the student to leave the classroom immediately or initiate action to have the student removed by seeking assistance from ISU Public Safety or the department chair. In a case of aggressive disruptive behavior, the instructor should notify immediately the department chair and dean's office having jurisdiction over the class, who in turn may contact the Office of Student Affairs and ISU Public Safety in order to determine the appropriate action to be taken. Such action, depending upon the nature and severity of the behavior, may warrant, but not be limited to, any sanction listed in paragraph 3 below.

2. If the disruptive behavior continues (whether in the same or a subsequent class period), the instructor should again direct the student to stop the behavior and ask to meet with the student outside of class (e.g. in the instructor's office) to inform the student that the behavior is disruptive. At this point, the instructor should direct the student to review the section "Conduct in the Classroom" of the Student Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook and follow up with a letter to the student. The letter should describe the specific behavior that is disruptive, reference the warnings given the student, and state what further actions may take place of the behavior were to continue. The instructor should also express the belief that this letter will constitute the final step for resolution of the particular situation. A good reason to carry out this step is to create the expectation that the student will resume appropriate classroom behavior. The letter will also serve as documentation that may become necessary if the disruptive behavior continues. A copy of the letter should be sent to the chair of the department for the class, the Dean of Student Affairs, and to the chair of the student's major department.

3. If the disruptive behavior continues, the instructor's options include:

(a) asking the student to leave the classroom, which may be followed up with a call to ISU Public Safety, if necessary, to have an officer escort the student from the room (notify the department chair that this was done);

(b) imposing a grade reduction;

(c) assigning an "F" in the course;

(d) withdrawing the student from the course; and/or

(e) sending a second letter to the chair of the student's major department which may lead to further sanctions, including dismissal from a program or the university. If the instructor chooses any of options (b) - (e), it should be done in conjunction with her/his department chair, and the dean (or dean's representative) should be notified.

Sanctions assigned by a professor under this policy may not be avoided by withdrawing from or dropping the class. When sanctions require action by the registrar, the registrar shall be notified in writing by the department or dean involved in the case.

4. Any student appeal of sanctions imposed due to disruptive behavior in the classroom is made to the dean (or dean's representative) of the college having jurisdiction over the course. The decision of the dean is final for that particular class; in the case of a graduate student, appeals follow the same steps as appeals of grades or dismissal. The graduate council's decision is final. In neither case is the matter appealable through the scholastic appeals process.

Students and faculty members should be aware that if the department chair or college dean (or dean's representative) become[s] involved, he or she will assess all relevant information and recognize the obligation of fairness to the instructor, the student, and the class.


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