Bystander intervention program expands

Publication Date

Employee volunteers are needed to become certified trainers for the College’s bystander intervention program.

The program trains members of the campus community to intercede in situations where sexual harassment or sexual violence appears imminent.

Begun last year, the program has trained hundreds of members of Union’s athletic teams, Greek organizations, resident advisers and others.

The workshops were led by College administrators and employees who conducted training that incorporates elements of the national Green Dot bystander intervention curriculum. Green dots are characterized as a moment in time when someone chooses to use their words or behaviors to try to stop a red dot – or aggressive action - from happening.

The organization’s mission is to reduce power-based personal violence (including sexual violence, relationship violence and stalking). A recent study funded by the Centers for Disease Control said Green Dot’s approach has helped reduce the rates of violence by as much as 50 percent.

Last winter, seven administrators volunteered and underwent training to become certified for the bystander program.

The upcoming training session will be held over four full days, March 21-24. It is funded with a special grant from the Planning and Priorities committee (P and P), which supports the College’s Strategic Plan.

“We understand a four-day training and continued involvement in this initiative is a big commitment, but’s it such an important cause, and one we have already seen create a positive impact on our campus,”said Amanda Tommell-Sandy, assistant director for Health Promotion and Student Wellness. “The bystander program is a key component to reducing the rates of sexual assault and violence on our campus.”

For more information, contact Tommell-Sandy at or Gretchel Hathaway, Union’s chief diversity officer, at

The College has taken a series of steps aimed at preventing sexual assault. Last fall, Union joined with nearly 200 colleges and universities to participate in a national public service campaign, “It’s On Us.” The campaign, launched by President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., hopes to fundamentally shift the way sexual assault is viewed on campuses “by inspiring everyone to see it as their responsibility to do something, big or small, to prevent it.”

The College also teamed up with New York State officials in raising awareness of – and doing its part to take a stand against and prevent – sexual assault and domestic violence.

And a student-led Committee on Consent Education and Awareness recently hosted its second Sexual Assault Awareness Week with a series of events across campus.