Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Students who fail to adhere to behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Faculty have the professional responsibility to treat students with understanding, dignity and respect, to guide classroom discussion and to set reasonable limits on the manner in which students express opinions.

Disruptive students in the academic setting hinder the educational process. Although disruptive student conduct is already prohibited by regent Laws and the Students' Rights and Responsibilities Regarding Standards of Conduct, the purpose of this policy is to clarify what constitutes disruptive behavior in the academic setting; what actions faculty and relevant Assistant/Associate Dean's offices may take in response to disruptive conduct; and the authority of the Office of Student Conduct to initiate disciplinary proceedings against students for disruptive conduct.

What Constitutes Disruption?

"Disruption," as applied to the academic setting, means behavior that a reasonable faculty member would view as interfering with normal academic functions. Examples include, but are not limited to: persistently speaking without being recognized or interrupting other speakers; behavior that distracts the class from the subject matter or discussion; or in extreme cases, physical threats, harassing behavior or personal insults, or refusal to comply with faculty direction.

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.

Some disruptive students may have emotional or mental disorders. Although such students may be considered disabled and are protected under the Rehabilitation Act/ADA, they are held to the same standards of conduct as any student.


  • Students are required to adhere to the behavior standards listed in the Rights and Responsibilities Regarding Standards of Conduct and to refrain from disrupting classes and other academic settings.
  • If a student is disruptive, the faculty member and/or the relevant Assistant/Associate Dean's office may ask the student to stop the disruptive behavior and warn the student that such disruptive behavior can result in academic or disciplinary action.
  • A faculty member is authorized to ask a student to leave the classroom or other academic site if the faculty member deems it necessary. If the faculty member does this, s/he shall file a Disruptive Classroom Incident Report with the Office of Student Conduct and the Assistant/Associate Dean of the College or Department Chair (as determined by the College) within 24 hours. The Office of Student Conduct shall provide the student with a copy of the report.
  • A faculty member may also exclude the student from the classroom or other academic area pending resolution of the matter by: (1) informing the student of the exclusion, (2) informing the student of his/her rights to request an expedited review of the exclusion, and (3) by immediately referring the matter to the Office of Student Conduct by submitting the Disruptive Classroom Incident Report and informing the relevant Assistant/Associate Dean of the College. If such exclusion occurs, and if the student requests a review, the Office of Student Conduct shall review the exclusion within three business days of the date the student requests the review.
  • Nothing in this policy prohibits an immediate call to the University of Colorado Police or referral of the matter to another policy office, as determined to be appropriate by the classroom instructor.

Possible Sanctions

Authority of Instructor and Relevant Assistant/Associate Dean's Office

  • Warning
  • Exclusion from the instructor's classroom or academic area, pending expedited review by Student Conduct
  • Academic sanction, if course participation is a component of the final grade and is indicated in the course syllabus

Authority of the Office of Student Conduct

  • Warning
  • Educational Sanctions, such as classes, papers or community service
  • Disciplinary Probation
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Exclusion from any part of or all of campus

Authority of the Chancellor or Vice Chancellor

  • Summary Suspension
  • Exclusion from any part of or all of campus


Instructors should be aware that notes of the dates, times, witnesses and details of the incidents of disruption, and the impact of the disruption on those present, may be important in any future proceedings which may be necessary. Referrals to the Office of Student Conduct require written documentation containing factual and descriptive information. The student is entitled to see this documentation.


  • University of Colorado Police
    • Emergency 911
    • Non-emergency 492-6666
  • Counseling 492-6766
  • Cultural Unity Center 492-5667
  • Disability Services 492-8671
  • Student Conduct 492-5550
  • Ombuds Office 492-5077
  • Victim Assistance 492-8855
  • University Counsel 492-7481
  • Assistant/Associate Dean's offices in relevant schools and colleges

Disruptive Classroom Incident Report

The Disruptive Classroom Incident Report shall contain the following information:

  • Date of Report:
  • Student's Name:
  • ID#:
  • Instructor's Name:
  • Instructor's Phone Number:
  • Instructor's E-Mail:
  • Title of Course, Course Number and Section:
  • Date/Time/Location of Incident:
  • Attach a detailed summary of the incident, including a description of the disruptive behavior.
  • Witnesses:
  • Action, if any, taken by the instructor (e.g. student warned, asked to leave the class, etc.):
  • What is your recommended course of action and reasons for this recommendation?
  • Instructor's Signature:

This campus policy has been reviewed and approved by the CU-Boulder Provost, Dean's Council and Boulder Faculty Assembly.

Updated: March 16, 2015

Effective Date

Thursday, October 18, 2001

Approved By

Richard L. Byyny, Chancellor


Offices of Student Conduct, Undergraduate Education, Diversity & Equity, Faculty Affairs