Rights and Responsibilities

The primary aim of intervening with a student who may be exhibiting behaviors of concern is to both assist the student and protect the university community. Achieving these two goals sometimes requires a careful balancing act. Often, campus officials, working in concert with the student and parents, can help the student find effective support that allows him/her to successfully complete their studies without an adverse impact on the overall community.

However, sometimes it may appear that the student's behavior is so disruptive that they must be removed from a specific class or from the campus in order to protect their own health and safety or the health and safety of others. In those circumstances, it is imperative that the faculty or staff member work with the Dean of Students to explore all alternatives.

Students have legal rights that protected them against arbitrary removal from classes or the campus; any such university action must follow due-process requirements for the student while minimizing negative impact on the classroom or campus community. In addition, the American Disabilities Act protects student from negative action taken on the basis of a protected disability.

Generally, a student's behavior will be the sole basis for imposing disciplinary sanctions; whether the student has a mental disability or underlying emotional problem is irrelevant. At ETSU, the Vice Provost and Chief Student Affairs Officer has the sole authority to permanently remove a student from the classroom and/or from campus, and may do so only through the university's due process. Faculty must report disruptive behaviors to the Dean of Students and participate in the judicial process in order to move forward with barring a student from the classroom.

Faculty can help by taking pro-active steps to insure that students are aware of the instructor's expectations for classroom behavior. Standards of appropriate classroom behavior should be included in the class syllabus and should be discussed them at the first class meeting. Communicating these standards within the syllabus will promote student retention by preventing confusion and misinterpretation of conduct expected by the instructor and provides the basis for disciplinary action, should it become necessary.

Suggested items for inclusion on each syllabus:

  • Policy regarding attendance, punctuality and tardiness, including consequences.
  • Statement regarding appropriate behavior between student and instructor and/or classmates.
  • Appropriate expectations for instructor time and attention inside and outside of class room. General policies regarding communication with instructor, including instructor office hours and location, appointments and drop-in policy, phone number and policy regarding returning telephone calls.
  • Statement regarding conflict resolution in the classroom (how to discuss differences/disagreements with the instructor and other students).
  • General policy on eating, drinking, smoking in class.
  • General policy regarding children and visitors in class.
  • General policy regarding breaks and leaving and entering class at other than break time(s).
  • General policy on plagiarism.
  • General policy regarding cell phones, pagers, laptop computers, PDAs


Statement regarding reasonable accommodation for students with documented special needs:

If you have a disability that may require assistance or accommodations, or if you have any questions related to any accommodation for testing, note taking, reading, etc., please speak with me as soon as possible. You should contact the Office of Disability Services (439-8346) with any questions about such services.