Dealing with Disruptive Students
Sandra Rhoten, Associate Dean of Students, Judicial Affairs
I. What is disruptive behavior?
Behavior which directly interferes with the goals of the office and the
mission of the university. Be clear on the goals of the office. Failure
to enforce standards disadvantages other students.
II. Strategies for preventing disruptive behavior
- Set standards/clarify expectations/notify students
- Develop office protocol for dealing with issues
- Establish consequences including conditions under which a student would
be asked to leave the office
- Train staff
III. Strategies for responding to disruptive behavior
- Early intervention
- Consult with supervisor
- Meet with student
- When appropriate, report student to Judicial Affairs
- When appropriate, report to University Police
IV. Meeting with the disruptive student
- Remain calm
Be specific about the inappropriate behavior the student has exhibited.
Describe the behavior, don’t focus on the person. Explain why the
behavior is a problem
- Ask questions and summarize
Conclude by summarizing any resolution and articulating expectations
for the future. Be clear that continued inappropriate action may result
in a referral to the Dean of Students Office, Judicial Affairs for disciplinary
action and possible loss of services.
- Maintain written documentation of the interaction
Terminate the conversation if it becomes apparent that the student
is unwilling or unable to listen to your concerns and requests
These recommendations are based on the expectation that students can
and will be reasonable if they have adequate information, clearly understand
parameters, and are treated with respect. The expectation is that students
can change their behavior. However, if they demonstrate unwillingness
or inability to change, then additional interventions, including removal
from the office, may be necessary.
V. University Resources