BEHAVIOR CASES IMPEDING LEARNING PROCESS

No: S-9

Date: September 1992--Rev.

Authority: UWM Administration


This policy is intended to assist faculty in the event they face behavior problems in the classroom. The student behavior may range from eccentricity and dissent to disruption.

Eccentricity can be thought of as non-normative behavior, provocative or "bizarre" behavior. Dissent can be thought of as disagreement, protest, argument, or behavior which produces dialogue but which does not seriously infringe on the teaching/learning process. Neither eccentricity nor dissent is actionable unless it becomes disruptive. Disruption can be thought of as a serious infringement on and/or a serious blocking of the teaching and/or learning process. It usually involves behavior which makes it impossible for normal classroom activity to continue.

What should faculty do when they experience students who exhibit disordered behavior or disruption? There are a number of options:

1)   Talk With the Student About the Situation

If possible, this should be done after class and in the privacy of the faculty member's office. If the faculty member concludes that disruption is occurring, a statement to this effect should be made to the student and the student admonished to discontinue the behavior.

2)   Contact the Dean of Students

The dean of students can take informal action, such as talking with the student about changing behavior, or formal action in accordance with the campus disciplinary guidelines. Formal action is required to prohibit a student's class attendance.

In the event disciplinary action is not sought by the faculty member, at least initially, the dean of students can serve as a focal point for assisting the student through a network of concerned professionals on and off campus. The dean of students may have been contacted by others regarding the student but is not necessarily aware that the student in question is behaving similarly in multiple classes or settings. In order to determine the extent of the problem, the dean of students may consult with other faculty involved with the student. Consultations may also involve other university personnel (e.g., Norris Health Center staff, academic adviser). Solutions such as behavioral change and environmental modification (e.g., dropping the class or withdrawal from school) will be explored.

Should formal disciplinary action be sought in response to disruption or other acts of misconduct, a complaint (oral or written) describing the incident(s) of misconduct is to be supplied to the dean of students. In accordance with UWS Chapter 17 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code, the dean will investigate, determine the appropriate sanction(s), and carry out the adjudication process.

3)   Contact University Police

If the behavior of the student is seriously disrupting the class and the student refuses to cease the behavior, the faculty member should ask the student to leave the classroom. If the student refuses, the faculty member may wish to request the assistance of the University Police. Removal of a student from a classroom should occur only when the teaching and/or learning process cannot continue unless the student is removed.

When a student is excluded or removed from a classroom for acts of misconduct, the exclusion applied only to that class session. The student may attend future class sessions unless disciplinary action taken through the dean of students has restricted him/her from doing so. Of course, any time misconduct occurs during a class session, the student may again be excluded from that session.

Most cases of disruption in the classroom can be resolved without UWM disciplinary action or police involvement. Every attempt should be made to preserve the integrity of the teaching/learning process in the classroom.