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Disruptive Student Behavior

Recommended By: The Academic Senate
Approved: Ruben Armiñana, President
Date of Issue: February 1, 2012
Effective Date: February 1, 2012
Contact Office: Academic Affairs

Policy #2012-1

Commensurate with the mission of Sonoma State University to prepare students to be learned men and women with a broad cultural perspective, who are active citizens and leaders in society and capable of pursuing fulfilling careers, it is the policy of the university to create learning environments that support civil and respectful discourse. It is the policy of Sonoma State University to be proactive in dealing with issues of students who cause disruptions in the academic environment. Faculty members and students are encouraged to discuss the appropriate ways of behaving in educational settings. It is also the policy of Sonoma State University to impose sanctions on students who regularly disrupt educational activities.

  1. Definitions Of Disruptive Behavior
  2. “Disruption” applied to the academic setting means behavior that a reasonable individual would view as interfering with normal academic functions.  This may include behavior both inside and outside the physical space of the classroom, such as field trips, office hours and educational sites off-campus.  Examples include but are not limited to:

    • Speaking out without being recognized
    • Interrupting other speakers
    • Engaging in erratic or irrational behavior
    • Behaving in a manner that distracts the class from the subject matter or discussion
    • Engaging in harassing or threatening behavior or personal insults (includes via email, phone, text, etc.)
    • Refusing to comply with directions from faculty members

    Civil expression of disagreement with the course instructor during times when the instructor permits discussion is not, in itself, disruptive behavior and is not prohibited.

  3. Policy
  4. When a student demonstrates a pattern of disruptive behavior, faculty members have authority and responsibility to work with that student toward a satisfactory resolution. Should informal measures, such as private discussions, not resolve the issue, faculty members may impose sanctions, such as dismissal from the classroom or area for the remainder of the class session or activity. Students may only be excluded from the classroom for two or more consecutive class periods by the presidential designee responsible for student disciplinary procedures. If a faculty member believes that formal conduct proceedings are warranted for disruptive behavior, a complaint should be directed to the Student Conduct Administrator as soon as possible after the event takes place. The incident report (available at will be kept in accordance with FERPA (Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act). The Student Conduct Administrator or designee will make initial contact with the student within one working day of receiving an incident report. The faculty member who filed the incident report will receive confirmation that a meeting took place and information about the outcome of that meeting from the Student Conduct Administrator or designee within one working day of the meeting. Hearings and/or sanctions will be conducted in accordance with the proceedings described in Article IV of Executive Order 1043. The faculty member will be kept apprised of proceedings within the limits of FERPA.

  5. Authority
  6. Title 5, California Code of Regulations, Section 41301 lists various infractions of the code of conduct for which students may be sanctioned. Section 41301 gives authority to the Chancellor of the California State University to establish disciplinary procedures (Executive Order 1043, ) for all campuses. For more information, see the SSU online catalog ( or the Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Division web site (

    Updated 2/7/12 by