Dealing with Hostile or Angry People
Some Metropolitan State employees, students or guests may exhibit anger and violence as a result of difficulties and frustrations within our environment, emotional or psychological struggles, or fear and anxiety over unknown influences. Threats, intimidation and harassment are not tolerated at Metropolitan State University and should not be accepted within the classroom, office or public areas.
Anyone witnessing abuse should feel empowered to respond to the abuser in a professional manner appropriate to your comfort level. Allowing abusers to demonstrate threatening behaviors without a corrective response may validate their conduct and create an environment for continued abuse. The safety officers, administration or the Police Department may also be contacted to support efforts associated with mitigating abusive behaviors. The following items may offer support during these situations.
- Rehearse ahead of time what you would say or do in these situations.
- Respond to the individual in a calm/firm manner letting them know how you feel.
- If you anticipate problems with an individual, let safety know ahead of time.
- If you feel you may be in jeopardy, leave the area. Go somewhere safe and notify the safety officer.
Safety Phone Numbers
Saint Paul Safety Officer
Cell (or emergency) 651-775-0444
Safety Desk 651-793-1717
Library and Learning Center Safety Officer 651-775-0715
Minneapolis MCTC Safety Officer
Midway Safety Officer
Cell (or emergency) 651-775-6122
Safety and Security Office 651-793-1725
After Hours Answering Service 651-793-1700
Please contact the Safety Office with questions or support involving emergency situations or conditions of discomfort and fear relating from threats, abuse or violence at Metropolitan State University.
Faculty Suggestions for Classroom Safety
Prior to the beginning of the semester:
- Include a statement in syllabi indicating "Expectations of Student Behavior"
- Sample: Communication and behavior among all individuals in this course, whether verbal or written, should be civil and respectful. Constructive criticism is appropriate, but should always be presented in a manner that promotes educational goals. Individuals who demonstrate a lack of civility will be cautioned, and if the behavior continues will be asked to leave the class.
- Have a few business cards belonging to your department chair or dean among materials you take with you to class each week, so you can give one to a student you ask to leave your classroom.
- Take a phone with you to class or make yourself aware of student(s) who have phones which can be accessed in an emergency.
- Write down the cell number for the safety officer for the specific campus housing your classroom and keep it within easy reach among materials you take with you to class each week. The three major university locations have the safety officer's cell number by the classroom door. In addition, if you are not familiar with the campus, write down the name of the campus, the address and the room number in case you have to describe your location to anyone over the phone.
- Make yourself familiar with evacuation routes for your particular classroom. If individuals who are unable to use stairways are in your classroom, make yourself familiar with handicapped accessible evacuation routes as well. (This information should be posted near elevators; but if not, contact Facilities or view evacuation routes on the safety portal for the information.)
While in the classroom:
- Review the syllabus statement about expectations of behavior with students at the first class session. Explain to them that you have a responsibility to the entire class and that class time will not be wasted on managing inappropriate behavior. Students who demonstrate inappropriate behavior will be asked to leave the class and will not be allowed to return until a meeting outside of class has resulted in assurances that the behavior will not continue.
- If a student demonstrates inappropriate behavior in class and it can wait until break time, ask to speak to that student at break privately and caution the student about the behavior; making it clear that your next step will be to ask the student to leave the class.
- DUE PROCESS: If you have to ask a student to leave a class, state that the student will be allowed to return to class after a satisfactory meeting has taken place. That meeting may be with you alone, or with a department chair or conduct code officer present, if you prefer. Give the student a number to call to arrange for that meeting or to grieve your decision to remove him/her from the classroom.
- If a student refuses to leave a classroom or if you believe the student will not leave the premises peacefully, call the safety officer at the campus site to escort the student from the classroom and follow up with the campus safety officer and your department chair or dean after class. Offer the other students information about escort services to their cars after class, which are available on all campuses. Access escort services yourself if you are uncomfortable about leaving a classroom alone.
- If in doubt, call 911 and be clear about your location - campus name, address and room number. If using an internal phone system, dial 911 or 9-911.