Students of Concern

Since the shootings at Virginia Tech in April 2007, faculty and staff members on college campuses throughout the United States have shown increased concern about disrespectful, disruptive, and violent student behavior on campus. Sometimes, student  behaviors can be merely frustrating or mildly troublesome, but other cases may require consultation, campus conduct action, or immediate emergency response. Many inappropriate behaviors can be easily and directly dealt with by faculty or staff members, or even by other students.

If you suspect that a student is experiencing difficulties or is struggling with an issue and is beginning to display signs of distress, trust yourself, you are likely right with your observations. It is okay to call with questions or to make a referral even if you are unsure. Once a Concern Report has been submitted, the information is reviewed and the situation is evaluated.  The Dean will most likely, but not always, contact the student and request a meeting to provide consultation. The CARE(S) team may review and assesses concern reports and will become more involved if there is an elevated level of concern about the student's behavior.

It is encouraged to submit a Concern Report if you notice observable behaviors that cause you to be concerned about a student's personal or academic well-being, or believe a student may be a threat to themselves or others. Details regarding the differences between disruptive versus distressed individuals are provided below to assist with your decision to report a student or situation.

Disruptive Behavior

Gary Pavela defines disruptive behavior as "student behavior that a reasonable person would view as being likely to substantially or repeatedly interfere with the conduct of a class." Disruptive behavior persistently or grossly interferes with academic or administrative activities.  Such behavior actively inhibits students’ ability to learn, instructors’ ability to teach, and/or the regular operations of the campus.  Occasionally, disruptive behavior may even threaten or endanger the physical or psychological health, safety, or welfare of others. 

"Obstruction or disruption of regular College activities, including teaching, research, administration, campus services, student conduct proceedings, and organized events; deliberate interference with the free speech, expression or movement of members of the College community, including guests or visitors engaged in permissible use of College facilities; refusal to identify oneself when requested or to obey any other lawful instruction from a College official or faculty member to discontinue or modify any action which is deemed disruptive," as stated in the Student Code of Conduct, is subject to campus conduct action.

Dealing with disruptive student behavior in the classroom:  Disruptive Student Behavior: Guidelines for Faculty and Staff

Disturbing Behavior

Disturbing behavior, on the other hand, usually causes us to feel concerned, alarmed, afraid or frustrated, but generally has no negative impact on other students, the professor’s ability to teach or conduct class, or the implementation of other professionals’ roles in the college.