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Being an Active Bystander

The University recognizes that everyone is a bystander at some time. Bystanders play a crucial role in the prevention and avoidance of crimes, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, instances of stalking, and other types of unacceptable behavior.  The University is committed to fostering a campus environment of accountability where campus community members are actively engaged in the prevention of violence and mitigation of further harm.

Active bystanders witness these conditions, behaviors, and situations and make the choice to intervene or speak up about the situation.  Active bystanders are the largest and first line of defense in eliminating violence or misconduct on the University campus.

What to do as an active bystander is not always clear.  To alleviate and add clarity to potential actions by active bystanders, the University provides the following guidelines.   This list is by no means complete.

  1. If there is an apparent, immediate danger, dial 9-1-1 immediately.
  2. Be actively aware of your surroundings and your fellow campus community members.  If someone appears to be in trouble or needs help, ask if they need assistance.
  3. Speak out (diffuse the situation immediately or report to University authorities) when you hear someone talking about trying to take advantage of another person.
  4. Confront and report anyone who tries to take advantage of an incapacitated person.
  5. Believe someone who reports a crime, sexual assault, abusive behavior, or experience with stalking.
  6. Refer people to on or off campus resources listed in this document for support in health, counseling, or legal assistance.

(Bystander intervention strategies adapted from Stanford University, University of North Dakota, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology)