All sophomores will be required to complete a 75-minute bystander intervention training session as part of an administrative effort to improve Yale’s sexual climate, according to a Wednesday email to the class of 2015 from Yale College Dean Mary Miller and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Melanie Boyd ’90.
“This is a fairly new area in sexual violence prevention,” Boyd told the News. “Preliminary research at other universities is showing that bystander intervention training can produce dramatic drops of sexual violence on campus, as well as improving the climate overall.”
The workshops, which will each be led by several communication and consent educators and held in groups of 14 to 15 students each, are meant to be small and interactive, according to Boyd. Training is mandatory, but students can choose one of 99 time slots, an option that is meant to encourage students to attend with their friends and promote conversational settings in the workshops. The workshops will consist of a video, an overview of the idea of bystander intervention and group discussions about applicable scenarios.
In contrast to traditional preventative programs that targets potential victims or perpetrators, bystander intervention will treat all students as third-party community members who have the power the shape their community atmosphere, Boyd said. The program aims to “catalyze” behaviors already present in the community, and shifting the broader mindset of the campus is more important than teaching new content, Boyd added.
Workshops will be held from Jan. 31 to Feb. 3.
Read the full email from Miller and Boyd below:
We write to tell you of a new bystander intervention workshop for the entire sophomore class, an initiative designed to improve the sexual climate on our campus and respond to what you have reported already, both anecdotally and in response to surveys: that sophomore year is the ideal time to strengthen the effort of creating a safer, more respectful community. The workshop, scheduled primarily for the first weekend in February and required of all sophomores, builds on the communication and consent training of your freshman year, adding new skills and strategies you will use in your increasingly active roles on campus.
This workshop adds another obligation to your already busy schedules, and yet we know you understand that establishing and maintaining a positive climate, one of our highest shared priorities, requires us to acquire and practice collective skills. The CCEs will be facilitating these 75-minute interactive sessions, and they have scheduled over 90 of them beginning the afternoon of Thursday, January 31 and concluding in the evening of Sunday, February 3. All sophomores are required to attend one session, so we hope that with this many options you will be able to find one that fits with your schedule. If you can, please sign up with a group of friends — these are skills you will use together!
Register for your session by clicking on the link below. It is personalized, so don’t forward it to friends or use someone else’s. Just follow the instructions to see the options for available times. Please be sure to complete your registration by 5pm on Tuesday, January 29. If you have an unavoidable conflict that stretches over the four days, you should email Dean Melanie Boyd to arrange for an alternate session.