Photo courtesy of  SCAD

On Thursday, Mar. 4, SCAD Residence Life & Housing, in collaboration with the Counseling & Student Support Services, held a workshop on bystanderism. This was the fourth workshop they have held at SCAD.

According to Psychology Today, “the bystander effect occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation.”

The bystanderism workshops focus on creating a safe space where students can learning what bystanderism is, SCAD’s policy on sexual assault and violence, the difference between a passive and active bystander and what they can do in situations where they find themselves being a bystander.

Residence Directors Lauren Slaydon and Ian Klink lead the workshop.

“It was something that we were always aware about and conscious about it at the University … we had this idea of developing this presentation because we wanted to get it out there, we wanted our students to be aware of it and SCAD is so growing and every year we are having more and more students,” explained Klink.

Klink noted that with more students comes a higher likelihood that such situation occur. “Now we see our numbers growing, let’s be preventative about it.”

Klink and Slaydon work in tandem with SCAD Counseling, Residence Life, the Dean of students David Blake, SCAD Title IX coordinator Cris Dykeman and outside presenters who have done workshops such as these to create a very SCAD specific presentation.

“Instead of just making a large bystander training that could happen anywhere we really tried to make it relevant to SCAD Students, including things like links to our dean of students office, our title IX office, the Live Safe app,” said Slaydon.

In collaboration with these different departments and resources, Klink and Slaydon discovered the facts and what needed to be included in the workshop.

Slaydon introduced videos into the presentation as a change of pace, knowing that SCAD students are mainly visual learners and that they would absorb the information better that way. The workshop also includes a powerpoint presentation and multiple group activities.

“We spent a lot of time working with other offices, other internal and external resources to make sure that it is relevant and pertinent to our population,” added Slaydon.

“I think what this workshop and what these sessions are doing is introducing the term bystander to everyday conversation. It’s not just something you do in a moment, its something you’re just conscious of all of the time,” said Slaydon in regards to the impact the workshops have had on the community.

Bystanderism — although a fairly foreign and new concept — is not uncommon.

“You are being an active bystander if you see something happening at the parking lot in the mall, or if you see something happening at a bus stop on campus,” said Slaydon explaining where and how such a concept manifests.

Slaydon and Klink hope to continue the workshops in the future and are open to adjusting their times and dates so that students who want to learn about bystanderism are able to do so without time being a hinderance.

“We’re open to try anything: we’ve varied our workshop times and days of the week and hours, really trying to cast a wide and so that if somebody can’t make it on a Friday, I know that a really busy work day for students, so we tried like today on a Thursday afternoon, perhaps that was open to more students,” said Slaydon.

“I see this continuing to evolve for positive reasons,” she added.

Both Slaydon and Klink emphasized the fact that if students were to report an incident they witnessed or were apart of to SCAD Counseling, it would remain confidential. However, if they were to report a situation to the dean of students or the title IX coordinator, those members of faculty would be required to report the incident to SCAD and therefore take action.

For more information on SCAD Residence Life and Housing visit their website. And for more information on the bystanderism workshop, email Ian Klink at iklink@scad.edu, or Lauren Slaydon at lslaydon@scad.edu.

Written by Asli Shebe.