Disruptive and/or Harassing Behaviour in Academic Situations, Senate Policy on

Disruptive and/or Harassing Behaviour in Academic Situations, Senate Policy on

Legislative History:

This policy and procedures were established as a result of a report by a Senate Executive Working Group established in March, 2005 to review relevant Senate policies in the context of balancing academic integrity and the avoidance of disruption of academic activities with principles of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. New text was proposed to address disruptions outside of a classroom or other spaces in which teaching and learning take place which are sufficiently intrusive to compromise a class or other academic activities.

Approved by Senate, October 26, 2006.

Approval Authority: Senate


Senate affirms that no individual or group of individuals shall cause by action, threat or otherwise, a disturbance that obstructs any academic activity organized by the university or its units.

York is committed to policies that support the teaching and learning of controversial subject matter. Students and instructors are, however, expected to maintain a teaching and learning environment that is physically safe and conducive to effective teaching and learning for all concerned, and to be civil and respectful at all times within the learning environment, including within classrooms, laboratories, libraries, study halls and other places where academic activities are conducted and in areas proximate to those where academic activities are taking place.

It shall be the responsibility of the course director or other supervisor to determine the appropriate academic response and follow-up resulting from a disruption.


Associated Procedures

If activities cannot continue because of a disruption within or in the vicinity of a classroom or other area where academic activities are conducted, course directors or other supervisors shall determine the appropriate immediate response. Bearing in mind the safety and security of all individuals, instructors shall take such steps as the following:

requesting that the disruption stop;

briefly suspending activities;

calling campus security.

Course directors or other supervisors shall inform the Associate Dean of their Faculty and chair of the applicable unit of any incident which has disrupted academic activities.

These principles and guidelines are intended to be remedial, rather than punitive, in nature. To the extent possible, disruptive behaviour should be addressed through mediation rather than adversarial procedures. However, depending on the behaviour, all members of the York community have recourse to University regulations (such as the Student Code of Conduct), the Criminal Code of Canada or other federal, provincial and municipal statutes.

Academic Response to a Disruption

If a course director or other supervisor determines that academic activities cannot continue, they shall determine an appropriate academic response. This may involve remediation (such as booking additional class time) or other academic accommodations (such as providing access to lecture notes, altering assignments or rescheduling tests). As in the case of other situations in which academic activities have been disrupted, responses to incidents of disruptive or harassing behaviour shall be based on the principles of:

a) academic integrity of the activity;

b) fairness to students;

c) timely communication.