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Responding to Student Misconduct: Guidelines for Faculty and Staff

Tips for Preventing Misconduct in the Classroom

  • Just as instructors determine academic standards and evaluate student performance according to those standards, it is recommended that at the beginning of each term, instructors determine social conduct standards for their classroom (no chatting in class, reading newspapers, sleeping, using cell phones, texting, etc.). For courses with online components, it is recommended that expectations regarding electronic communications be included.
  • Provide specific information in the syllabus regarding your classroom expectations in addition to a reference to the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct.
  • This not only sends a message to potentially disruptive students but also communicates to all other students that you will ensure a classroom environment free from disruption.

Meeting with an Angry or Potentially Threatening Student

  • Do not meet alone with a student who you feel may be a threat to your personal safety. Instead of asking to meet after class, schedule a specific appointment so that you have time to prepare for the meeting. You are welcome to contact the Office of the Dean of Students for consultation prior to the meeting.
  • You should consider alerting and conferring with your Department Chair and/or colleagues of when the student will be meeting with you, and asking one of them to either be on standby or to join in the meeting. 

Identifying the Distressed Student

Over the course of your career at SUNY Canton, you may come into contact with a student you find challenging. It is important to understand the difference between a student having a bad day and a student who may need mental health or substance abuse treatment or intervention. All SUNY Canton students go through a time of adjustment when they come to college. It is normal for students to feel anxious and sad to some degree within the first three months of starting college, as they try to figure out how and where they fit in. Concern should arise when the distress to the student is in excess of what would be expected or if there is significant impairment in social, educational, or occupational functioning. When a student is having difficulty, help is available for the student. Services are available to help assess the student and help them with their needs. It is important to be able to recognize when a student is in trouble. Behaviors that you might encounter include:

Academic Problems:

  • Career and Course Indecision
  • Excessive Procrastination
  • Uncharacteristically Poor Preparation or Performance
  • Repeated Requests for Extensions or Special Considerations
  • Disruptive Classroom Behavior
  • Excessive Absence/Tardiness
  • Avoiding or Dominating Discussions
  • References to Suicide or Homicide in Verbal Statements or Writing

Interpersonal Problems:

  • Asking Instructor for Help with Personal Problems
  • Dependency on Advisor
  • Hanging Around Office
  • Disruptive Behavior
  • Inability to Get Along with Others
  • Complaints from Other Students
  • Student Isolating Self from Others

Behavioral Problems:

  • Change in Personal Hygiene
  • Dramatic Weight Gain or Loss
  • Frequently Falling Asleep in Class
  • Irritability
  • Unruly Behavior
  • Impaired Speech
  • Disjointed Thoughts
  • Tearfulness
  • Intense Emotion
  • Inappropriate Responses
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Physically Harming Self

» Report a Concern

(Adapted from SUNY Potsdam’s BEC Manual with permission)

Behavioral Intervention Team Chair
Campus Center 229
SUNY Canton
34 Cornell Drive
Canton, New York 13617

Phone: 315-386-7120
Fax: 315-386-7990

Regular Hours:
M - F: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm