Classroom Disruption

2 squirrels in a tree

Handling Class Disruption

Instructors are neither expected nor encouraged to put up with disruption in the classroom or harassing behavior by students. The Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs (OSSJA) provides non-emergency advice and assistance to faculty regarding such behavior, which is prohibited by University policy. Specifically, Section 102.13 of our Standards of Conduct for Students prohibits "obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, or other University activities," and students may be referred to OSSJA for violations of this standard.

Disruption or obstruction means conduct that disturbs, interferes with, or prevents normal campus functions and activities, including lectures, labs, class activities, office hours,  or research functions. Examples include: creating a disturbance or disrupting class by excessive talking, making inappropriate noises, repeatedly interrupting others, monopolizing class discussion, or verbally abusing others. 

Call Student Support and Judicial Affairs to consult if a student disrupts or obstructs class, office hours, or other teaching or research functions.

Contact the UC Davis Police if an individual makes implicit or explicit threats of violence, or you believe there is a significant risk of physical harm to you, to others, or to the student him/herself; if the student has a weapon; or if the student behaves in an intimidating or bizarre manner. The police will respond to investigate the threats or other circumstances, warn any intended victim, and determine whether the individual is dangerous, has committed a crime, or needs medical/psychological help.

Responding to Disruption in Class:

  • For minor disruption, remind students of their responsibilities.
  • If students repeatedly disrupt class or office hours, talk to them individually and warn them that they may be subject to possible discipline if disruptive behavior continues.  Follow up with a short email in which you put what you discussed with the student and the warning in writing.
  • If the behavior continues, report the student to OSSJA. 

Always treat students with the respect you want them to show you.

For more tips, see below.


Edited 1/13/19 by slh