Improve TU #6: Require bystander intervention training for clubs

Every club should have at least one member who has attended a Bringing in the Bystander training.

Advocacy Alliance bystander training and related programming have historically suffered from low attendance. TU can engage student leaders in this programming and increase the number of informed students on campus by requiring one person from each student organization to undergo Advocacy Alliance training.

TU has recently been exploring programming options to supplement online education about sexual assault and harassment. Bystander training programs and self-defense training programs have successfully been implemented at other schools. These programs are intended to fill campuses with students who are prepared to act when they see or experience assault or harassment.

Advocacy Alliance holds bystander training events throughout the year, and Campus Security holds RAD for Women Self-Defense courses periodically. These programs tend to suffer from low attendance — not, I suspect, due to lack of interest, but because TU students are notoriously busy with scholastic and extracurricular obligations.

We could increase attendance at assault and harassment prevention events by requiring one student from every organization to undergo training each year.

One student from each organization is already required to attend an annual SA meeting about organization funding. Bystander training would take roughly as much time — an afternoon at most.

With approximately 150 student organizations on campus, this would ensure that at least 150 students undergo bystander training. Social groups at universities are often formed based on clubs or organizations. By requiring one student from each org to attend, we can ensure that students trained to recognize harassment are evenly distributed across campus social circles.

By targeting student orgs, we can catch student leaders who have the disposition to take action in a bystander situation but might not attend training of their own volition just because it isn’t at the front of their mind.

We could also consider offering some sort of incentive for organizations that send more than one student to training.

Requiring a single student to undergo training isn’t a huge drain on an organization’s time or resources. It increases the number of trained and informed students on our campus, which will help carry the overall campus culture toward one in which students aren’t afraid to speak up when they see harassment.

This will ultimately contribute to the prevention of assault and harassment on campus, which is certainly a worthwhile cause.

Post Author: Hannah Kloppenburg