Responding to Student Misconduct - Lake Land College, Mattoon Illinois

Responding to Student Misconduct

Guidelines for Faculty and Staff

Student Code of Conduct

  • The Student Code of Conduct is designed to clarify expectations for student conduct on campus (academic and social).
  • Faculty and staff should be aware of the Student Code of Conduct and feel comfortable referring to it.
  • The Code is available in Appendix F, in the Student Handbook and online at www.lakelandcollege.edu/ss/ar/studenthandbook/.

Tips for Preventing Misconduct in the Classroom

  • Just as instructors determine academic standards and evaluate student performance according to those standards, it is recommended that instructors determine social conduct standards for their classroom (no chatting in class, reading newspapers, sleeping, using cell phones, etc). For courses with online components, it is recommended that expectations regarding electronic communications be included.
  • It is recommended that instructors provide specific information in the syllabus regarding classroom expectations in addition to a reference to the Student Code of Conduct. This not only sends a message to potentially disruptive students but also communicates to all other students that the instructor will ensure a classroom environment free from disruption.

Recommendations for Responding to Misconduct in the Classroom

(Progressive discipline to insure compliance with due process requirements)
Please note that progression through these steps depends upon the level and repetition of misconduct. Ideally, most incidents of misconduct will be remedied at Step 1 or Step 2.

Step 1:

  • Provide an oral warning to student at the time that inappropriate behavior occurs.
  • Consider reminding the entire class regarding expectations. If the oral warning does not remedy the situation and the inappropriate behavior continues:

Step 2:

  • Talk to the student individually after class or ask them to schedule a meeting for a later time. If it is not possible to talk with the student individually prior to the next class period, contact the student by phone, email or letter.
  • During the discussion with the student, clarify the expectations for classroom conduct and seek the student’s cooperation in meeting those expectations. Provide a written warning because of the student’s failure to correct the behavior following the oral warning. Provide a copy of the written warning to the student. Indicate in the written warning that further incidents may result in the student being asked to leave class for the day and that if such response is necessary, a report will also be submitted to the Vice President for Student Services (VPSS) for further disciplinary action.
  • In addition to the written warning, document all other information relevant to the student’s misconduct.
  • Provide a copy of the written warning and other documentation to the Division Chair (DC). Also send a copy to the VPSS to be placed on file in the event of continued misconduct in this class or another.

NOTE: Step 1 and 2 may both occur during a single class period if a student fails to correct their behavior after being warned by the instructor.

If the written warning does not remedy the situation and the inappropriate behavior continues:

Step 3:

  • If the behavior persists beyond the written warning or is so disruptive that immediate action is necessary, ask the student to leave the class for the remainder of the class period. If the student refuses to leave the class, call LLC Public Safety. If necessary, temporarily adjourn the class and ask another student to call Public Safety.
  • Contact the DC and the VPSS immediately to discuss the situation.
  • Document all relevant information.
  • Provide a copy of the documentation to the DC and to the VPSS along with the Behavioral Incident Report.

NOTE: Instructors may direct a disruptive student to leave for the remainder of a class period. Longer suspensions or involuntary withdrawals require further disciplinary action through the student disciplinary process and the VPSS. Instructor documentation of the sequential events, adequate warnings, and actions are critical.

Step 4.

  • Upon receipt of the Behavioral Incident Report, The VPSS will investigate the student’s violation of the Code and take appropriate action according to the Disciplinary Procedures outlined in the Student Handbook.
  • The investigation may include review by the Behavioral Intervention Team, consultation with the student, faculty member, and DC. The faculty member and DC will be informed of the results of the investigation.
  • If disciplinary action is to be taken, a student has the right to a formal hearing on the charges and actions. If a student requests a formal hearing by the Student Conduct Committee, the faculty member may be called upon to present a description of the events or to answer questions.

Meeting with an Angry or Potentially Threatening Student

Instructors should not meet alone with a student who may be a threat to their personal safety. Instead of asking to meet after class, instructors should schedule a specific appointment so that they have time to prepare for the meeting. Instructors should call a member of the Behavioral Intervention Team for consultation prior to the meeting. They should also alert and confer with their DC and/or colleagues of when the student will be meeting with them and ask one of them to either be on standby or to join in the meeting.

A Note on Due Process

To be in compliance with a student’s right to due process regarding disciplinary actions, it is important that the college:

  1. provide a warning describing the nature of the misconduct including information on what section of the Code of Conduct the student has violated;
  2. provide the student a reasonable opportunity to correct the behavior; and
  3. provide a procedure to appeal the assessment of the conduct and any disciplinary actions taken (Amada, 1999).

References:

Amada, G. (1999). Coping with misconduct in the classroom: A practical model. Asheville, NC: College Administration Publications.

Hernandez, T. J., & Fister, D. L. (2001). Dealing with disruptive and emotional college students: A systems model [Electronic version]. Journal of College Counseling, 4(1), 49-62.

Pavela, G. (2000). A model code of student conduct: Applying the power of association on campus. Asheville, NC: College Administration Publications. Retrieved April 3, 2006, from www.collegepubs.com.

Stevens, E. (1999). Due process in higher education: A systemic approach to fair decision making. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report, 27 (2). Washington, DC: The George Washington University, Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

Virginia Tech (2006). Responding to disruptive or threatening student behavior: A guide for faculty. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Tech. Retrieved April 17, 2008, from http://www.dos.vt.edu/documents/DisruptiveStudents-faculty.pdf