Instructors negotiate for power to eject unruly students
Students might find themselves removed from the classrooms under the faculty union’s negotiating safety proposal, giving instructors authority to dis- miss students with inappropriate behaviors without filing a Code of Conduct complaint.
The current proposal reads: “Faculty members have the right to permanently remove students from their class for disruptive, threatening or otherwise inappropriate behavior. Faculty members exercising this authority shall notify their supervisor within 24 hours. Students may be returned to the class by the college only upon a successful student appeal to the Joint College-Faculty Student Removal Appeal Committee.”
“(We) understand that this is a very sensitive issue and could be easily misinterpreted, but it is a question of having authority to protect the classroom,” Jim Salt said, president of the Lane Community College Education Association. “The administration has not been supportive (of) the faculty when students get extremely violent.”
When a student is dismissed from the classroom for disruptive behavior, they can come back to the next class “regardless of how egregious or threatening the behavior,” Salt said of the administration’s current policy. Faculty members cannot remove the student unless they continue inappropriate behavior in class.
Although faculty members have filed complaints, initiating the resolution process, some faculty members have not found safety and comfort in their teaching environment, blaming the administration’s inefficient work, according to Salt and the Education Association’s Vice President Sheila Broderick.
Faculty’s safety proposal is to protect the classroom, including faculty and students from other students’ extreme behavior, but it does not limit students’ ability to challenge faculty’s decision with the administration, Broderick said.
Salt and Broderick declined to reveal any faculty names without their knowledge.
Having little knowledge about the faculty’s proposal, Associate Dean of Student Affairs Barbara Delansky responded to faculty’s accusation that throughout her career she has never failed to be supportive to a faculty member when a problem arises.
In a position of helping faculty through the Code of Conduct, the administration is available to support faculty members’ decision and interpret expectations in an educational environment to students, Delansky said.
Faculty members can either file an Incident Reporting Form under the Code of Conduct online, Delansky said, or report to the Division Dean when a problem arises. Once Student Life and Leadership Development officials have confirmed the problem, students receive an email notifying them that their inappropriate behavior has been reported. They are then required to meet with the official before returning to class.
If the student shows no effort in improving their behavior, the administration puts them into disciplined probation; about three or four students every year are suspended because of extreme situations.
Associated Students of Lane Community College President Paul Zito questioned the purpose of the proposal, because the Code of Conduct exists for the same reason. In addition, he is concerned that the proposal will have some “drastic effects” on students’ lives and careers.
“When students are forced to drop the class, it will affect their academic career, financial aid, and even their lives,” Zito said.
Delansky said it is difficult for the officials to resolve problems that arise towards the end of the term. In most cases, the administration finds alternative solutions to let the student finish their courses.
According to Delansky, faculty members often only want to get the student’s attention, not remove the student from class altogether.
“To have full control over students’ behavior in class,” Delansky said, “faculty can put his or her expectations on the syllabus, explain it on the first day of class, and cite it under the Code of Conduct.”
Neither students nor student government has a vote on the current proposal, but the Education Association welcomes dialogues from students about methods for protecting the classroom, Salt said.
None of the faculty who has experience using the Code of Conduct would agree to give a comment to The Torch.