Melanie Boyd

The Communication and Consent Educators — a group of 57 students trained in community building and small-group discussions about sexual climate — led workshops on bystander intervention for first years during the second semester, a departure from the past practice of holding the workshops during sophomore year.

The bystander intervention workshops are meant to teach students how to intervene if they see a situation that seems to be escalating toward sexual misconduct. The CCEs were clear in the workshop that all the techniques taught in the sessions — such as de-escalation techniques — could be used in nonsexual situations as well. The workshop previously has been taught during sophomore fall, but this year, the CCEs decided to provide and mandate this training earlier.

“There is widespread agreement among researchers that sexual misconduct prevention must be both multifaceted and sustained — that is to say, it is most effective when community members learn a range of skills over an extended period of time,” wrote CCE director and Assistant Dean Melanie Boyd in an email to the News. “By intensifying the first-year sequence, we can offer valuable skills to the community at an earlier stage; this will also free up sophomores to join the juniors and seniors in more specialized workshops.”

Sophomores, like all upperclassmen, are now required to engage in annual Title IX training, which can be completed through more specialized workshops such as “Community Values and Accountability” or “Sexual and Romantic Communication,” as well as others.

During the bystander intervention workshops, students worked through scenarios to brainstorm helpful intervention techniques. Some of the workshops also showed a video on various types of intervention, but students had the option to opt in to a non-video workshop if they were concerned about watching a simulated assault.

Jesse Nadel ’21, one of the five CCE project coordinators and a former Production and Design Editor for the News, helped design the curriculum for the workshop. Along with other project coordinators and CCEs, Nadel worked to incorporate past feedback into the script for the sessions. This year, that entailed clarifying particular sections and ensuring that the workshop approached topics in a way that is sensitive toward sexual assault survivors, he said. Boyd also edited the workshop to incorporate new research on bystander intervention.

“I joined the CCE program because I am incredibly passionate about helping to shape Yale into the best, most positive community it can possibly be,” Nadel said. “The Bystander Intervention training is a key aspect of furthering this mission, empowering students to, in their everyday actions, look out for one another and make Yale a community we can all be proud to be a part of.”

Nadel, like all the CCEs who led the workshop, underwent extensive facilitation training in the past months to prepare for it. He said that he is glad that the workshop is now taught to first years, as he feels that bystander intervention training is an “incredibly useful experience.”

Josephine Holubkov ’23 participated in the workshop, and cited the different scenarios posed to the students as an important tool for learning about various types of interventions. She said that the CCEs did a good job walking her through the different techniques, and she appreciated that they were clear that a situation does not have to be actively dangerous in order to require an intervention.

Holubkov mentioned that she felt the workshop could have been conducted earlier, during first-year orientation. But she also said that, in that case, it could have been lost in the rush of orientation activities.

“I do think it is a lot better to have it now, during the second semester of first year, instead of waiting all the way until sophomore year,” Holubkov said.

The CCE program is run through the Office of Gender and Campus Culture.

 

Amelia Davidson | amelia.davidson@yale.edu

AMELIA DAVIDSON
Amelia Davidson currently covers admissions, financial aid and alumni as a staff reporter. She previously covered the Yale College Council. Originally from the Washington D.C. area, she is a sophomore in Pauli Murray College majoring in American studies and economics.