Disruptive Classroom Behavior

Disruptive classroom behavior is behavior that a reasonable faculty member would view as interference with the educational process. It includes, but is not limited to, persistently speaking or interrupting without being recognized; persistently creating distractions during class; refusing to follow faculty instructions; or engaging in harassing, threatening, or personally insulting behavior.

Nothing in this policy is intended to limit the civil expression of students' opinions on the issues raised in courses during times the instructor has designated for discussion. The behavior described as "disruptive" violates one or more parts of the Community Standards.

Procedure for Dealing with Disruptive Behavior

Instructors confronted with disruptive students are urged, first, to indicate to them that their behavior is unacceptable; and then, to offer an opportunity to conform to the expected standards of the classroom.

If the behavior persists, the instructor should consult with the chair of the department (or director of the program) to seek a solution. The instructor and the chair or director should keep individual records of their interactions with the disruptive student, and the chair should notify the associate provost of the situation.

Should the problem not be resolved within the department or program, the instructor should appeal to the associate provost. The dean or a faculty or staff member designated by that dean will meet with the instructor and the student, together or separately, to decide on an appropriate course of action.

If the immediate situation warrants, however, the faculty member may require the student to leave the classroom or instructional site for the remainder of the class meeting and, if necessary, summon a Campus Safety and Police officer to remove the student. If the instructor requires the student to leave the class, the instructor must notify the associate provost and the vice president for student affairs/dean of students as soon as possible; in any case, well in advance of the next class meeting.

The instructor may bar the student from the course until the student meets with the associate provost (or designee) and an appropriate course of action has been determined. In such a case, the associate provost (or designee) will meet as soon as possible with the instructor and the student, together or separately.

The associate provost (or designee) may decide on a course of action, for example:

  • Requiring written assurance from the student that the disruptive behavior will cease.
  • Issuing a written warning to the student that if the disruptive behavior continues, the student will face a disciplinary hearing for violation of the Community Standards as detailed elsewhere in this handbook.
  • Referring the student to professional counseling.
  • Referring the matter to the vice president for student affairs/dean of students for investigation and possible disciplinary action.

The dean may impose on the student an interim suspension from the course until the student has taken required action or the case has been adjudicated, as described in this handbook. An interim suspension can provide time to deal with a disruptive situation; it is not intended to be punitive. The suspended student should have access to class notes, be kept informed of class activities and assignments, and be permitted to take scheduled quizzes and examinations.

The disruptive behavior policy is not limited to time spent in a traditional classroom, but rather extends to all academically related activities, including (but not limited to) music performance activities (including ensembles, lessons, and performance class), varsity athletics, time spent in the library on academic work (even if outside the normal class time), and advising sessions.

Appeals of disciplinary action by students or faculty members may be made to the vice president for student affairs/dean of students, in which case the matter will be heard by a Discipline Review Committee. See the Disciplinary Proceedings section of this handbook for more information.

Sanctions for Disruptive Behavior

Depending on the results of these procedures, the student may be reprimanded, fined, placed on probation, suspended from the course or the College, or permanently removed from the course or the College. Where appropriate, the matter also may be referred to civil authorities. If the student's removal from a course as a result of disruptive behavior causes a change in status from full-time to part-time, no tuition is refunded to the student's account. A student whose eligibility to participate in graduation is affected by the loss of a course due to disruptive behavior is not permitted to participate in the graduation ceremonies as a "walker."


Throughout the process of dealing with disruptive student behavior, appropriate confidentiality must be maintained (except as otherwise set forth in this policy) to protect the student. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act does not allow faculty or staff members to describe the contents of student records without the student's permission, and even discussions of a student's records with other members of the Moravian College faculty and staff can take place only if there is a legitimate educational purpose.

The Office of the Provost will keep a confidential record of all reported episodes of disruptive student behavior. Those pertaining to students who have graduated will be destroyed one year after graduation. If a student withdraws, records will be kept for a period of 15 years or until one year after the student reenrolls and graduates.