Frequently Asked Questions: Faculty


What is “disruptive” student behavior in the classroom?

  • Disruptive student behavior can be defined as any behavior likely to substantially or repeatedly interfere with the normal conduct of instruction activities, including meetings with instructors outside of class.  Example of such behavior include, but are not limited to, making loud or distracting noises; using cell phones and other electronic devices without prior approval; repeatedly speaking without being recognized; frequently arriving later or leaving early from class; and making threats or personal insults.  Note: A verbal expression of a disagreement with the instructor or other students on an academic subject matter discussed with the course, during times when the instructor permits discussion, is not in itself disruptive behavior.

What do I do with a disruptive student?

It is important to note that faculty have several options when addressing disruptions in the classroom.  If there is a concern for immediate safety contact George Mason police at 703-993-2810.  

  • Before submitting an incident referral to the Office of Student Conduct or a student of concern referral to the Student Support and Advocacy Center, please consider the following:
    • Talk to the student in private.
    • Express concern; be as specific as possible in stating your observations and reasons for concern.
    • Explain that the behavior is inappropriate and ask the student to stop the behavior.
    • Listen carefully to everything the student says.
    • Repeat the essence of what the student has told you back to the student so your attempts to understand him/her are communicated.
    • State expectations for future behavior or class sessions.

What do I do if the behavior continues?

What is the difference between the Student Support and Advocacy Center (SSAC) and the Office of Student Conduct (OSC) when it comes to disruptive students?

  • SSAC supports students who are having significant difficulties functioning in an academic setting due to personal/interpersonal problems, mental health issues, etc.)
    • Faculty can REFER students to the SSAC whom they believe are exhibiting behaviors that are concerning/moderately disruptive, but do not rise to the level of violating the Code of Student Conduct.
    • OSC supports students by turning potential incidents of misconduct into opportunities for education  and student development through the adjudication process.
      • Faculty can REPORT student to the OSC whom they believe are exhibiting behaviors that disrupt the learning environment and are in violation of the Code of Student Conduct.

What happens after I submit and incident report or referral form?

  • Information regarding the Case Resolution Process after the submission of an incident report to the Office of Student Conduct can be found at this web address:
  • Information regarding the process after the submission of a referral form to the Student Support and Advocacy Center can be found here.