Student Behavior


Committee on “Student Behavior”

In January 2017, a situation was brought to the attention of the Commission related to inappropriate behavior of a student aimed at a staff employee on campus.  Remarks were made that were racist and hurtful to the staff member.  The event prompted questions about the policies and procedures that guide our handling of such situations.

To address this, Dwight Burke, Director  for Support and Safety Assessment, was asked to attend a meeting of the President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion and provide an overview of the process.  He noted that existing procedures  and guidelines currently in place when a student crosses the line, to include disciplinary actions, support systems development, and dissemination of information.  However, there was no definitive guideline dictating when to involve departments chairs or deans.

A subcommittee came together on February 16, 2017 for further discussion with Dwight.  Commission members included Meg Skeehan, Leslie Taylor, Anita Bundy and Mary Ontiveros.





Anita Bundy

Anita Bundy

Professor/Department Head
Department of Occupational Therapy
Mary Ontiveros

Mary Ontiveros

Vice President for Diversity
Vice President for Diversity
Megan Skeehan

Meg Skeehan

Program Assistant
Department of Accounting, College of Business
Leslie Taylor

Leslie Taylor

Vice President for Enrollment and Access
Vice President for Enrollment and Access

Reports & Recommendations

There was consensus that our goal is to promote a culture where disrespectful, intimidating, bullying behavior is not acceptable and not to be tolerated.  Yet,  it would be difficult to achieve such a climate if administrators are unaware of student behavior that is contrary to these expectations.  We need to involve department chairs and deans in creating this kind of atmosphere as they are in leadership roles and need to impress upon their employees and students what is expected.  We also must understand the legal/ethical standards and requirements that we have to work within.


Dwight noted that many variables are taken into consideration when dealing with each situation.  Those involved are often not interested in details of a particular situation until after the fact when they realize the importance of obtaining details.  Dwight’s office will educate individuals about the process if asked, but there is not one standard way of addressing these situations. Other considerations brought to the attention of the committee included:


  • “Tell someone” is not ask someone.
  • Information is shared on a need to know basis.
  • Thresholds for information to share varies by situation.
  • Assisting the student is a critical part of the process.
  • Managing the community is the more difficult part of the process.
  • Individualized responses must be developed in context to the situation.
  • Some assistance does come from departments.
  • It is important to point people to the process and not to the details.


The Committee also discussed possible responses to consider:

  • Developing a model to communicate to faculty and staff.
  • Communicating those actions that are already in place.
  • Conducting a gaps analysis on current activities.
  • Determine what department representatives need to know.
  • Encourage department chairs to call in to find out more if needed.


Some procedural changes have been introduced as a result of this situation:

  • In every case, notification to the department chair or associate dean is considered.
  • A presentation related to this was provided to all chairs in the College of Health and Human Sciences.
  • People on the consult teams will ask about others needing to know about a particular situation so they can consciously discuss what is appropriate – particularly if it involves academics in any way.


Future meeting of this group could include development of an internal communication plan.