4.2.4 Disruptive Behavior

A university in a free society must be devoted to the pursuit of truth and knowledge through reason and open communication. The rules it has should be conceived solely for the purpose of furthering and protecting the rights of all members of the university community in achieving these ends. In such a community, criticism and dissent play an essential role, and must be tolerated and encouraged. On the other hand, a distinction must be drawn between those who would attempt to bring change through the use of nonviolent tactics, and those who would bring it through violence. Physical harassment, violence or threat of violence to anyone on the university premises, destruction of or damage to property, obstruction and disruptive behavior, however, are not acceptable tactics in such an environment, for they constrain others from pursuing their educational goals and are in conflict with the academic ideal that conflicts should be resolvable by reason and civil interchange. Disruptive behavior is defined as any act that prevents the accomplishment of any lawful activity, process or function of the university. To insure that these principles are workable in practice, the scholarly community must be organized so as to generate freely given consent and loyalty and provide for the relief of grievances. The views of all participants in the academic enterprise must enter into the process of consensus, and opportunities for change must be open. Nevertheless, the concept that a small group can impose its will on the majority by the use of force or intimidation is the very antithesis of what is proper in a university environment.

With respect to specific enforcement of the general policy against disruptive behavior, any faculty member so charged shall be entitled to a hearing before the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee before formal action is taken by the University. He or she shall be entitled to the safeguards described in the Academic Freedom Statement. Disposition of these cases by the committee may range from dismissal of the charges to a recommendation to the President that the faculty person's contract be terminated. Charges of disruptive behavior against a faculty member may be brought by any voting member of the faculty.

With respect to specific enforcement of the general policy against disruptive behavior, any student charged with such behavior is entitled to a hearing before the appropriate judicial body, with the safeguards and rights of appeal described in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Statement. If the disruptive behavior by a student is, in the opinion of the Associate Vice President for Campus Life or the designated representative, of such nature as to prevent the accomplishment of any lawful activity, process or function of the university, the Associate Vice President for Campus Life may direct the student to cease the behavior promptly. If the student does not cease the disruptive behavior promptly, the Associate Vice President for Campus Life may impose an enforcement suspension. Enforcement suspension is defined as an interim action, effective immediately, that removes the student from the university and prohibits his or her presence on the campus until the case is resolved in accordance with prescribed judicial procedures.

Disruptive behavior by nonmembers of the University will not be tolerated and will be subject to civil action.

It is the desire of the University community to maintain full control of its own affairs. The President of the University shall determine when it is necessary to call outside security forces to the campus to restore order. It is the policy of the faculty, under its responsibilities with respect to students, that the initiation of a call by the President of the University for outside security forces be done whensoever possible with the prior consultation of the officers of the faculty senate when available. Such forces will be called only when there is clear and imminent danger of bodily injury or loss of life, significant danger to property, or other serious disruption of the University. The following principles shall guide the University community during such a crisis: (1) violence shall be avoided by clear warning and adequate opportunity to desist peacefully both before and at the time of confrontation by outside security forces; (2) outside security forces shall be explicitly enjoined at the time of their call to use the minimum necessary restrained force to secure the peace, being to the extent possible forces so trained, and being particularly enjoined to avoid to the utmost extent possible the use of firearms; (3) it shall be the responsibility of the faculty to decrease the dangers of violence by exemplary behavior and patient guidance; (4) it shall be the responsibility of the faculty, further, to engage in surveillance of any action by security forces (internal or external), to cooperate, where possible, in securing the peace, and to eliminate to the maximum extent feasible any unnecessary or unwarranted further interruption or disruption of normal University activities. (Policy approved by Faculty Senate and adopted by University of Delaware, June 1, 1970., rev. 5/2021)