Bullying is not just a high school thing; it happens in college all the time too. Despite being older and more “adult” bullying is still a common issue. It can take many forms – harassment, hazing, intimidation in the classroom or a dorm, etc. – and it's something everyone needs to be aware of to help prevent.
Ways to Stand Up and/or Prevent Bullying
Speak up for someone whether that individual is present or not. If you hear someone talking about another individual in a disparaging manner or future threating activities say something. It’s not okay and it should be called out.
Be an Advocate
Go even further than just speaking up and let people know you’re an advocate to those who might be more likely to be mocked or treated poorly.
- Make it clear you don’t tolerate harmful or cruel language about individuals.
- Establish a zero-tolerance stance on any conversation that makes racial, sexist, homophobic, and other xenophobic comments.
- Take time to comfort or console anyone who might have been a target of bullying. Let them know it wasn’t okay and they’re not alone.
Recognize Different Forms of Bullying
Bullying doesn’t always look the same. It can range from truly harmful, obvious actions like hazing, taunting, and harassment to smaller, but still hateful actions. Be aware of all the ways bullying might take place.
- Making verbal threats, blackmail, taunting or belittling, harassment, etc. are all clear forms of bullying.
- Cyberbullying, threats on social media, harassing text messages, posting embarrassing pictures online, trolling, etc. are really harmful bullying practices that should not be condoned, shared, liked, or laughed at online.
- Non-verbal threats and intimidation, like blocking access to locations, stealing or hiding possessions and other menacing gestures, can sometimes be harder to spot than outright name-calling but they’re just as damaging.
- Even smaller-seeming actions, like teasing or trash-talking, can feel really negative and hurtful if you’re the target.
- Be aware of what you say, how you say it, what your friends and classmates say and do, and how you participate or react. “We were just joking” isn’t an excuse.
Use Your Anti-Bullying Resources
Many schools have anti-bullying programs and resources. Find out what your local and campus resources might be, and educate yourself. Don’t have an anti-bullying program at your school? Take a look at the College of Dupage’s as a starting point.
Just because you’re at college and adults, doesn’t mean there aren’t ways for instructors to get involved and help. If you are being bullied or see someone else being bullied tell someone. Talk to an instructor you trust, an academic advisor, or an RA. There are specific policies and resources to get school officials with authority involved to stop this type of behavior. Don’t ignore or be silent – tell someone at your school so they can help.
Many schools have formal programs you can join to help prevent bullying. These programs offer a lot of positive opportunities.
Remember, bullying happens everywhere—no place or school is immune. It’s important to not stay silent on this problem, bullying only stops when someone stands up and starts helping to prevent it from continuing.