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Level I: Informal Resolution

a) In the classroom

It is helpful if you clarify behavioral and other expectations at the beginning of a course, and reach agreement with students on standards for classroom conduct. When you are establishing guidelines for behavior in your course, it is important that you only articulate the standards that you are willing to enforce. Apply these standards fairly and consistently. Students will quickly recognize and resent perceived unfairness. Describing basic behavioral standards in the course syllabus will assist you in discussing them the first day of class. Information should specify what behaviors are prohibited, how you will manage behavioral issues, and any consequences that may result. For examples of civility statements faculty members should consider adding to their course syllabus, please visit

When a student is disruptive in class

Meeting with the disruptive student

It is generally helpful for you to meet privately with a disruptive student following a confrontation or removal from class. You may wish to request a meeting with a student who has displayed unacceptable behavior even when a confrontation has not resulted. In either case, the meeting is an opportunity for the student to understand the inappropriateness of his or her behavior, and for you to discuss strategies that will enable him or her to continue in the class. You may want to have a third person present, or to leave the door open so that someone in the office can assist you if the situation becomes confrontational.

In the meeting

b) Outside the classroom, or in a department or office

You may encounter threatening, intimidating or harassing behavior by students during office meetings, before or after scheduled classes, or in spontaneous encounters on campus. Should this occur, strategies for responding to the student generally are the same as those outlined previously.

In general 

Adapted from the University of Southern California's Disruptive & Threatening Student Behavior: Guidelines for Faculty and Staff. Their guidelines can be found at USC Guidelines.