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Dealing with Disruptive Student Behavior

Polices and Procedures

Texas Woman's University provides a procedure for the referral, evaluation, and appropriate disposition of students displaying disruptive behavior. Personnel of all departments of the University should refer students displaying disruptive behavior(s) that is not imminently dangerous to the office of the Senior Associate Vice President for Student Engagement (SAVPSE) for review and appropriate referral and disposition (download here).  Behavior that poses an imminent risk of danger to anyone must be reported immediately to the Department of Public Safety. 

Annual Review of Policy and Procedures

The policy and procedure will be reviewed annually by the Behavioral Assessment Team composed of the Directors of the University Counseling Center, the Department of University Housing, Student Health Services, Disability Support Services, Human Resources, the Department of Public Safety, a designee from Academic Affairs and the Senior Associate Vice President for Student Engagement (SAVPSE).


  • Disruptive behaviors are overt actions, omissions to act, or verbal or written statements that would not be consistent with the actions or statements of a reasonable, prudent person under similar circumstances.
  • Disruptive behaviors include, but are not limited to, behaviors resulting from possible physical, drug-related, or psychiatric disorders which may pose a potential harm to the physical or emotional well being of the student or others, and/or cause significant disruption to the normal functions and activities of the University.
  • Disruptive behavior typically refers to directly observable behavior.  But, it may also include a student’s behavior by electronic means (e.g. e-mail, social networking sights, postings to electronic classrooms, etc.) as well.

Procedures for Imminent Danger Situations

Anyone thought to be in imminent danger of harm to self or others, regardless of the reason, should be reported immediately to the TWU Department of Public Safety, if the person is physically on the TWU Campus.  If someone is not physically on TWU property, the local law enforcement agency should be called.

Procedures for Non-Imminent Danger Situations

  • The SAVPSE shall be notified by faculty, staff, or students of any instance where a student demonstrates disruptive behavior. The SAVPSE, following the Flowchart for Non-Imminent Danger Reports, will make a decision concerning the appropriate initial disposition of the event.  If the decision is made to bring this information to the Behavioral Assessment Team (BAT), the SAVPSE will present the case to BAT to review and evaluate the student’s behavior. The SAVPSE also retains the right to determine that behavior, while not imminently dangerous, is egregious enough to warrant an immediate referral to the Director of Civility & Community Standards for consideration of applying an interim action through the student conduct process.  Due process following the interim suspension will be followed, as defined in the Student Code of Conduct.
  • If BAT reviews the case and, as a result, decides it is deemed in the best interest of the student and/or the University that the student be withdrawn from the University, every effort will be made to facilitate the student’s voluntary withdrawal in accordance with established University procedures. However, if the student is unwilling to voluntarily withdraw and it is determined that the student’s behavior is disruptive to normal University functions, and/or presents a threat of harm or bodily injury to herself/himself or others, BAT may make referral to the Director of Civility & Community Standards for consideration of applying the Student Code of Conduct. See chapter 4 of the Student Handbook.

Responding to Non-Emergency and Non-Disruptive Behavior

In some cases, a student may come to the attention of faculty, staff, or other students who may seem to be in need of non-emergency medical or psychological assistance. In these cases, the behavior is neither indicative of imminent danger nor is it disruptive to university functions. 

Faculty, staff, and students may remind these students of the Student Health Service and Counseling Center services that are available. During office hours, students may be brought directly to these offices for services. However, it is critical to remember that these services are not meant to substitute for or avoid the appropriate reporting of disruptive behavior as outlined above. 

Faculty, staff, and students may consult with staff of the Student Health Service and/or the Counseling Center regarding concerns they may have about situations involving a student.  If, in the judgment of the Student Health Service or Counseling Center staff member, the situation appears to rise to the level of disruptive behavior, the caller will be advised to file a report with the SAVPSE in addition to any other actions they wish to take.

Disruptive Behavior Graph

Threat Assessment Policy

The Threat Assessment Policy outlines procedures for the referral, evaluation, and appropriate disposition of students displaying disruptive behavior in all University settings including online behavior.  All referrals relating to disruptive or threatening behavior should be made to the SAVPSE or to the TWU Department of Public Safety (TWU police).

This policy will outline the following:

  • Identification and involvement of the University Behavioral Assessment Team (BAT)
  • Procedures for reporting behavioral issues
  • Reporting responsibilities expected of the University Community
  • Process for submitting reports   

Behavioral Assessment Team

The Behavioral Assessment Team (BAT) is composed of the following individuals:

  • Director of Civility & Community Standards
  • Designee from Academic Affairs
  • Director of the Counseling Center
  • Director of the Student Health Services
  • Director of University Housing
  • Department of Public Safety Chief of Police
  • Human Resources Designee
  • Director of Disability Support Services
  • Other units may be called in on a case by case basis, i.e. Technology Services, etc.

Key objectives for the team

  • Develop intervention strategies to deal with violence, threats and disruptive behavior
  • Serve as a review team for cases referred by the members of the Behavioral Assessment Team


The SAVPSE will convene the Behavioral Assessment Team bimonthly or as needed.  When notified of a threat or act of violence, the team will initiate a  prompt investigation.

Based on the investigation, the team may recommend one or more of the following actions:

  • No further action is needed
  • Additional information should be gathered to evaluate the threat
  • Refer to the University Student Code of Conduct Process to initiate appropriate disciplinary action
  • Refer to the legal system to initiate appropriate criminal proceedings

Reports regarding the disposition of the incident will be conveyed to the affected reporting individual(s), whenever possible.

Reporting Threats and Acts of Violence

All members of the university community are encouraged to be alert to the possibility of violent acts on the part of employees, students, former employees, visitors, contractors, or others. 
Each time a faculty or staff member becomes aware of a threat, intimidating conduct, or an act of violence, she/he must report the incident to the TWU Police or the Office of Student Life. If there is perceived imminent danger, always contact the TWU Police immediately. 

In an effort to promote a safer campus environment, employees or students who are the victims of domestic violence, or who believe they may be the recipients of such violence, are encouraged to promptly notify the TWU police.  Faculty, staff, or students who have Protective Orders should provide copies to the TWU police to ensure appropriate law enforcement actions.  Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent provided by the law. 

Responsibilities for Departments/Units and Faculty/Staff

It is the responsibility of every department/unit and faculty/staff to:

  • Be familiar with the University Code of Conduct
  • Report any conduct violations (including threats or perceived threats) to the SAVPSE and/or the TWU Police; and
  • Cooperate with the SAVPSE and the Behavioral Assessment Team to implement recommended action to mitigate the threat.

 Note: Any report of violence or threats of violence will be handled in a confidential manner with information released only on a need-to-know basis.  

Process for Submitting Reports

If there is perceived imminent danger:   Contact the Department of Public Safety (TWU police) at 940-898-2911 immediately. This number should be used for the Denton, Dallas and Houston campuses. The police dispatcher will contact the appropriate agencies to deal with the incident.
Note: The TWU police dispatcher is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
If you are concerned about a student but you do not believe that the situation poses imminent danger:  Contact the Office of the SAVPSE at 940-898-3615 or complete a Student Life Behavioral Assessment Report Form.

  • Questions regarding behavior can be emailed to the SAVPSE.  However, if an incident has occurred, faculty and staff should not simply email or voicemail their concerns, but also complete a written BAT Form
  • The email and/or BAT Form will be reviewed by the SAVPSE or her/his designee. 
  • The faculty or staff member who submits the information will receive an acknowledgement from the Office of the SAVPSE confirming that appropriate responses have been or are being made. 
  • Faculty or staff submitting a BAT Form should not expect detailed information about the disposition of their submission because the issue may involve due process or confidentiality rights of the student. 
  • Before submitting the BAT Form, faculty and staff may consult with the Office of the SAVPSE for Student Life or other appropriate offices on campus (e.g. Counseling Center, TWU Police, Student Health Service, department chair, etc.).  However, making a report to the Office of the SAVPSE for Student Life may still be required following the consultation. 
  • Once a BAT Form is submitted, the SAVPSE will determine what steps need to be followed.  These could include: speaking with the student; gathering additional evidence or information by interviewing members of the TWU community; compiling additional documentation; referral to the Student Code of Conduct Committee; referral to the Behavioral Assessment Team; or other steps as deemed necessary. 
  • Faculty and staff should submit additional reports as new concerns arise or as behavior is repeated, even if they have done so before. A single incident may be insufficient to take action but a pattern of incidents may require an institutional response.

 Note: Any report of violence or threats of violence will be handled in a confidential manner with information released only on a need-to-know basis.  

page last updated 2/28/2017 11:41 AM