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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Campus Health, UAPD work to reduce bullying

Campus Health Service and UAPD are working together to reduce the number of bullying and harassment incidents on campus.

The Step Up! program through the Campus Health Service helps reduce occurrences of interpersonal violence on campus through bystander intervention trainings, according to Melanie Fleck, the outreach specialist at Campus Health Service in the Health Promotion and Preventive Services office. The program focuses on teaching people to take action against bullying by “stepping up” and speaking out when they see someone is being harassed or bullied, Fleck said.

“We offer ways on how to report, advise and to step up and report incidents,” she said. “It is about taking an approach of, if you see someone bullied and you want to stop it, then step up and stop it.”

Students are encouraged to report any bullying incident — whether physical, verbal, emotional or online — to the Dean of Students Office where it can be documented. Even if the case is anonymous, students are still encouraged to report the incident and how it happened. In the case of physical injuries, according to Fleck, students are to immediately report to Campus Health Service where they can seek medical assistance.

“We are concerned with the safety of that particular person and that it is addressed in a timely matter,” said Sgt. Juan Alvarez, the University of Arizona Police Department public information officer.

Before the UAPD can get involved, there must be a violation of the law, like a verbal threat, assault, or other means of harassment. All assaults are documented, but UAPD does not classify particular cases as bullying. There are not necessarily consequences for every bullying incident where police must intervene; the bullying must relate to an offense such as a misdemeanor or a felony, Alvarez said.

“We recommend that if anyone feels uncomfortable with the contact of another person and they have an issue with that person, they can come to us, we can talk to them and find exactly what the issues are and then if it is necessary we can do a referral to the dean of students,” Alvarez said.

The Division of Student Affairs partnered with Sheri Bauman, a professor of disability and psychoeducational studies and director of the school’s counseling program, conducted a study on cyberbullying at the UA. The study was conducted through a focus group at the UA, which examined whether or not students think cyberbullying is a problem on campus, what cyberbullying means to students and what can be done about it.

“Cyberbullying involves a broad range of behaviors or actions in which a person uses technology in a way that is perceived as aggressive or threatening to another person,” said Angela Baldasare, divisional manager of assessment and data analysis in the division of Student Affairs and co-author of the study.

“Cyberbullying, the non-face-to-face form of bullying … is sometimes more common then the physical face-to-face form of bullying,” Baldasare said.

Cyberbullying can happen through the use of Internet or electronic communications to harass or make other students feel bad, Baldasare said. From the study, Baldasare and her colleagues were able to learn what students expected from their administration regarding cyberbullying.

Students have suggested that the university establish a clear policy about cyberbullying with consequences — faculties should incorporate the proposed policy in their syllabus, and provide educational programs on cyberbullying in residence halls and during freshman orientation.

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