Conduct FAQ for Faculty and Staff

Familiarize yourself with the code of student conduct, including student rights:

How can I report a conduct incident?

Use the conduct reporting link for bias-based incidents and student conduct referrals:

How do I know if a student’s behavior potentially violates the Code of Student Conduct?

Please fill out the Incident Reporting Form or contact Student Conduct at The Student Conduct Officer will follow up with you and determine what, if any, policies may have been violated and explain the student conduct process moving forward. All reporters will be copied on the outcome letter a student receives post meeting, it can take days to weeks depending on the week in the quarter for this follow up to happen. If you prefer to contact before submitting a referral, please call Clark office 360-992-2900 or email at

I do not feel comfortable confronting students. Can I just forward the information to the conduct officer?

Managing student conduct concerns in the classroom is meant to be an educational opportunity for the student and allows for dialogue between the student and faculty regarding appropriate behaviors within the academic environment. We strongly encourage you to discuss the behavior with the student first, before referring the behavior to our office. As the Instructor, you have the primary responsibility for classroom management (virtual/remote and in person). You can also speak with your Dean and Division/Department Chair regarding best practices.


In incidents that involve the health and/or safety of you, your students, or any member of the Clark College community, please immediately contact Safety and Security at 360-992-2133. Security is available 24/7 on campus.  You should also refer the behavior to the CARES team for threat assessment by submitting a referral here:  

The CARE team is not a 24/7 emergency response. For urgent issues, please contact Safety and Security and/or call 911.

Shouldn’t all students already know what behavior is appropriate at Clark College?

Although it is expected that all members of the Clark College community educate themselves on college expectations and policies, all students do not share the same understanding of what is responsible conduct. For that reason, it is appropriate for faculty and staff to outline expectations and refer students to appropriate resources to encourage responsible behaviors.

For example, faculty should clearly state expectations and consequences in their syllabus and review this information on the first day of class. Faculty and staff who maintain regular relationships with students, such as advising a student organization or supervising student employees, should also state expectations and consequences at the start of the relationship. The Student Affairs Conduct Office can also assist in this effort to educate students about what behaviors are appropriate in an academic setting.

When developing your expectations regarding appropriate classroom behavior, it is important to consider issues that have arisen in your classes and classes of your colleagues. Plan for and expect the unexpected. In addition to stating your academic expectations, it is also important to communicate “what type of environment you need/require to effectively teach and foster learning.” Consider using the following classroom behavior statements:

  • Questions and comments must be relevant to the topic at hand
  • You should be in your seat and ready to begin class on time.
  • Packing up your belongings prior to the end of class is disruptive to others around you and to the instructor.
  • Classroom discussion should be civilized and respectful to everyone and relevant to the discussion topic.
  • Any discussion from class that continues any listserv or class discussion list should adhere to these same rules and expectations.
  • Any continued disruption will be reported to the Student Conduct.

(The above information was taken in part and re-ordered from the University of Oregon, Office of Student Life.)

Recommended syllabus language for Academic Dishonesty:

The Clark College Code of Student Conduct (available at ) defines academic dishonesty. Students are prohibited from committing or attempting to commit any act that constitutes academic dishonesty. Student should not use or attempt to use, give or obtain unauthorized assistance relating to the completion of an academic assignment without express permission from the instructor. Students should not take and use as one's own, without proper attribution, the ideas, writings, or work of another person in completing an academic assignment. If there is any question about whether an act constitutes academic misconduct, it is the students’ obligation to clarify the question with the instructor before committing or attempting to commit the act.

What information do I need to make a referral to the Office of Student Conduct?

Your referral should be as descriptive as possible. If you have student names, documentation, photos, or any information that would assist the student conduct process, you should include that information in your referral.

How can I address students who display disruptive behavior?

We recommend the following:

Include clear and specific information regarding your expectations for student behavior in your syllabus and during the first day of class to proactively address student conduct concerns.

Meet with the student to discuss the behavior, reiterate your expectations for classroom conduct, and give them an opportunity to change the behavior.

If the behavior continues, refer the behavior to the Student Affairs through the Conduct Referral Form.

Other tips include:

  • Take a breath and look at the situation as objectively as possible: Try not to personalize the situation
  • Identify the specific behavior of concern.
  • An educational conversation from an instructor can have a lasting impact on a student. Look for the opportunity to dialogue about the situation.
  • Address inappropriate, disruptive, or concerning behavior from the beginning. If you have a concern, do not wait to see if it happens again.
  • Use ”I” statements:
  • "I am happy to discuss this/speak with you about this matter, however…”
  • "I hear that you are frustrated, however…”
  • "I recognize how frustrated you are and I want to work with you. We need to take a step back for a minute so we can look at this situation together."
  • Repeat the statement calmly two times. The third time, add, "I am going to end this conversation. I do not…
  • "I do not/will not speak with another adult who is yelling (cursing, etc); and/or
  • as an educator, I do not/will not speak to someone who uses vulgar/crass/inappropriate/disrespectful language.”
  • Maintain notes and submit referrals when needed, of interactions with difficult students.

How do I know what constitutes disruptive behavior?

Disruptive behavior is any behavior that causes stoppage to lesson plans and office operations. Such interactions affect the whole classroom community and may provide a hostile learning environment for students. Behavior can look like, but is not limited to:

  • Loud, argumentative comments and accusations
  • Inappropriate and unprofessional language
  • Questions and interruptions that are off topic
  • Repeated/harassing interruptions
  • Physical behaviors (slamming doors/books)

How to prepare for online classroom expectations?

Instructors should make sure they are familiar with the Zoom controls, which allow them to control the chat function, mute, and who can share their screen.  Instructors should clearly set expectations of what type of behavior is allowed in the classroom space and be prepared to enforce it. Resources for knowing what and when to report can be found on the Faculty/Staff Process page.


All employees can report disruptions  to Student CARE (personal well-being, behavioral concerns), Student Conduct, Discrimination and Harassment or Bias Based Incidents. See detailed information below. Instructors should also connect students impacted by the behavior to campus support resources such as Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Counseling and Health Center.

Can I remove a discussion post if there is something inappropriate about it?

This may only be done if the student has posted something that falls under disorderly conduct, discriminatory conduct, sexual harassment or harassment (definitions below) AND is not related to the discussion topic, or assignment. Posts cannot be removed if it is a topic in which you or other students simply do not agree. If you remove a post, you should also immediately file a conduct referral.  

Students have the right to academic freedom. Students are guaranteed the rights of free inquiry, expression, and assembly upon and within college facilities that are generally open and available to the public. Students are free to pursue appropriate educational objectives from among the college's curricula, programs, and services, subject to the limitations of RCW 28B.50.090 (3)(b). Students shall be protected from academic evaluation, which is arbitrary, prejudiced, or capricious, but are responsible for meeting the standards of academic performance established by each of their instructors. Students have the right to a learning environment which is free from unlawful discrimination, inappropriate and disrespectful conduct, and any and all harassment, including sexual harassment.

Code Definitions

Disorderly conduct. Conduct which disrupts campus operations or the educational environment, is disturbing the peace, or assisting or encouraging another person to disturb the peace.

Discriminatory conduct. Conduct which harms or adversely affects any member of the college community because of her/his race; color; national origin; sensory, mental or physical disability; use of a service animal; gender, including pregnancy; marital status; age (40+); religion; creed; genetic information; sexual orientation; gender identity; veteran's status; or any other legally protected classification

Sexual harassment. The term "sexual harassment" means unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently serious as to deny or limit, and that does deny or limit, based on sex, the ability of a student to participate in or benefit from the college's educational program or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for other campus community members

Harassment. Unwelcome and offensive conduct including verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct, that is directed at a person because of such person's protected status and that is sufficiently serious as to deny or limit, and that does deny or limit, the ability of a student to participate in or benefit from the college's educational program or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for other campus community members. Protected status includes a person's race, color, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, creed, religion, honorably discharged veteran or military status, citizenship, immigration status or use of a trained guide dog or service animal or any other legally protected classification.  Harassing conduct may include, but is not limited to, physical conduct, verbal, written, social media, and electronic communications.

How does one-day suspension work in online class environment?

If you have suspended a student following the guidelines for one-day suspension and notifying with a conduct referral the student should stay out of the online classroom. If they join and are under suspension, you may use the zoom controls to mute and remove the student from the class for the one instructional day.

What do I need to know about confidentiality in these types of cases?

Confidentiality in student conduct cases is guided by the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), and its various amendments. As a general rule, it is a good practice to keep this information confidential during the review process with the exception of your Dean and/or Division/Department Chair (if needed) and the student conduct officer.

Once a case has concluded, the confidentiality guidelines stay in place. It would be a violation of the Federal law to share that information with other colleagues who may have that student in class, to use it as an object lesson for the class, or to discuss information specific enough to identify the student in a forum such as a departmental meeting.

How is responsibility of a violation determined?

Clark College uses the preponderance of evidence standard to determine if a violation of the Student Conduct Code occurred. Preponderance of evidence is a determination that the student “more likely than not” committed the alleged violation, based off information gathered during the student conduct process, including all information provided in the referral and meeting with the student.

What will happen if a student is found responsible for violating the Student Conduct Code?

If a student is found responsible for violating the code, sanctions may be assigned. Sanctions serve many purposes including, but not limited to, educating students about the seriousness of their actions; reinforcing the high standards of education and behavior expected for Clark students; promoting student development; and maintaining the safety and well-being of members of the university community.

We utilize Restorative Justice principles in developing sanctions with/for students. Sanctions are based on a number of factors including the conduct violation, any previous student conduct history, the perceived needs of the student, and the desired outcome of the Complainant (if applicable).

A list of possible sanctions is listed in the Student Conduct Code (WAC 132N-125-045). This list of sanctions is not meant to be exhaustive and other sanctions, designed or intended to enhance the educational value of conduct proceedings, may be applied in each case.

Are a student’s parents/family going to find out?

It depends. Student records, including records about misconduct, are protected by The Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. FERPA prevents the college from discussing a student record with parents/family unless a student designates that we can communicate with them.

How will a student conduct violation effect a student’s school record

Student conduct records are maintained in the conduct office according to state records retention policies which is typically 6 years from close of the case. Academic transcripts do not include notations for student misconduct.

What if I feel "creeped out" by someone?

Your feelings to difficult situations are valid. Depending on the situation, you can always report  a student or incident that is cause for concern. It is recommended that you stop and consider what behavior is “creepy” to you? Is the student saying something specific? Is the student doing something specifically? Sometimes a student is already referred and your information might help complete an understanding of the student's current state of mind. While there is not a hard rule about when to report "creepy" behaviors, it is always better to err on the side of caution. If it is a student in your class, it helps to have already built a relationship so that you can better understand the individual and assess if the behaviors are new/unusual, or if they are just part of someone's personality. You may always  email and consult with someone if you are not sure what to do. We encourage you to speak with your supervisor for any emotional support  and guidance.

Can I remove a student from my class (or work area)? What is the one-day suspension policy?

If a student exhibits behavior beyond your scope of influence (brings a weapon, is incapacitated due to alcohol, attempts physical violence, etc.), call Safety and Security (360-992-2133, available 24/7) and they will remove a student from class. If a student causes a significant disruption (i.e. yelling, throwing things) and does not respond to your requests to behave in accordance with the communicated standards, the typical practice is to tell the student to leave for that class period, and cite the student for a violation of the code of conduct using the Conduct Referral Form. You should plan to address the behavior prior to the next class, and you will want to consult with your dean. A student cannot be removed permanently from your course or work area unless through the process outlined in the Student Code of Conduct and is sanctioned by the student conduct officer.

The official policy for removal for one class period is:

Faculty members or college administrators have the right to suspend any student from any single class or related activity for no more than one instructional day, if the student's misconduct creates disruption to the point that it is difficult or impossible to maintain the decorum of the class, related activity, or the learning and teaching environment. The faculty member or college administrator shall report this suspension to the student conduct officer or designee on the same day of the suspension. In consultation with the faculty member, the student conduct officer may set conditions for the student upon return to the class or activity.

What can be done while we wait for the conduct process?

The conduct process works as quickly as possible and is limited to how quickly a student responds to scheduling, and the calendar availability of the only student conduct officer at Clark College. After a meeting is concluded, the outcome letter is sent to the student and the reporting person within seven (7) business days. The reporting party is always copied on the outcome letter.

If a situation involves a student being removed from your class for longer than the one day suspension, the conduct officer will be in direct communication with the faculty member involved. While you wait for the conduct process to proceed you can work with your Dean/Division Chair or direct supervisor to find support, formulate a plan and set a time to speak with the student about expectations in returning to the classroom:

We know student behavior can impact Instructors. For support, we encourage you to connect with the Washington State Employee Assistance Program . Additionally, your supervisor (ie department chair; dean) of your area can also provide you with support.