Rustication is a term used at Oxford, Cambridge and Durham Universities to mean being sent down or expelled temporarily, or, in more recent times, to leave temporarily for welfare and/or health reasons. The term derives from the Latin word rus, countryside, to indicate that a student has been sent back to his or her family in the country, or from medieval Latin rustici, meaning "heathens or barbarians" (missus in rusticos, "sent among ..."). Depending on the conditions given, a student who has been rusticated may not be allowed to enter any of the university buildings, or even travel to within a certain distance of them.
The term is used in British public schools (private schools), and was used in the United States during the 19th century, though it has been superseded by the term "suspension".
Walter Savage Landor (1775–1864), Rusticated from Trinity College, Oxford in 1794. Fired a gun at the window of a fellow student whose late night revelry had disturbed him and for whom he had an aversion. Landor chose not to return.
"The penalty for plagiarism at Harvard Extension is a failing grade in the course and rustication from the university for at least one calendar year…" Sue Weaver Schopf noted on her course syllabus in 2009.
The term also was used in the United States in the 19th century, and on occasion, later. Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner, in The Gilded Age, have a character explain the term:
"Philip used to come to Fallkill often while he was in college. He was once rusticated here for a term."
"It was long before you were born, my dear, that, for some college peccadilloes,—it is so long ago that I have almost forgotten now what they were,—I was suspended (rusticated we called it) for a term, and advised by the grave and dignified president to spend my time in repenting and in keeping up with my class. I had no mind to come home; I had no wish, by my presence, to keep the memory of my misdemeanors before my father's mind for six months; so I asked and gained leave to spend the summer in a little town in Western Massachusetts, where, as I said, I should have nothing to tempt me from my studies."
"Harvard's rigid rules and narrow curriculum had proved equally repressive. Rusticated for taking part in a student rebellion, Dana had spent six months in quiet rural study in Andover under a kindly clerical tutor."
At Rice University, rustication refers to a punishment separate from suspension. Students who have been rusticated are banned from social activities on campus and are only allowed on campus to attend class.