Low Turnout at Bystander Intervention Training

On 15 Feb., ten students and four staff members gathered in the West Forum to participate in bystander intervention training. The session was led by ...

Feb 21, 2015

On 15 Feb., ten students and four staff members gathered in the West Forum to participate in bystander intervention training. The session was led by Tina Wadhwa, Associate Director of Mental Health Promotion and Sexual Misconduct Support Services, and Roshni Dadlani, an RA and member of Raising Empowered Advocates for Community Health.
Some students indicated that the turnout was not as high as expected.
“We had a turnout similar to the [bystander intervention training] ... we did over the fall semester, but we are hoping for a larger turnout at the next event,” commented senior Krushika Patankar.
The session included an overview of the bystander effect, an individual's tendency to not intervene if there are multiple witnesses. It also discussed examples of situations where intervention is necessary and a lesson detailing the five steps to intervention.
Concerns were raised about the perceived gender diversity of the crowd.
“I think people have a perception… that there is a much larger number of women attending events as opposed to men,” said junior and REACH member Devin Quinn. “This is simply based on a worry that has been raised by several people lately.”
Despite concerns over turnout and the diversity of gender in the crowd, more events are being scheduled in the coming weeks to address similar themes. A series based around consent is planned to be held in the next week, along with another bystander intervention training event.
Quinn emphasized how crucial bystander intervention is for any community of NYU Abu Dhabi’s size.
“Bystander intervention is important to develop a safe and supportive community,” said Quinn.
Other students were also motivated to attend the session because of their belief in the importance of building a tight community.
“Accidents happen all over the world today and as responsible members of the society, I feel like it is extremely essential that we take a stand and help those in need around us,” said freshman Sangeetha Mahadevan.
Mahadevan further mentioned that she found the session very informative.
“I learnt multiple steps for action that I could take with regard to intervention during a time of need,” said Mahadevan. “I also learnt that ensuring the safety of others through inquiry and involvement in someone else’s life for that purpose is not considered to be an invasion of privacy.”
“I think what the university is doing in terms of ensuring the safety of its students and developing a socially responsible student body is incredible,” she added.  “I am definitely looking forward to more training sessions of this kind.”
In November 2014, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students David Tinagero announcedin-person training on sexual misconduct prevention and awareness would begin in Spring 2015 for all students. This announcement was made in light of an updated University-wide Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence and Stalking.
“Training should be mandatory as soon as possible, but I understand that there are a lot of chains of command before that can happen,” stated Dadlani.
Until widespread training begins, bystander intervention training and discussions on consent will continue to inform groups of self-selected students.
“The overarching goal of the bystander intervention training is to create culture change on campus that results in a safer and more supportive community,” said Wadhwa. “This is an incredibly important program that can prevent harm and reduce risk in the NYUAD community.”
Corey Meyer is managing editor. Email him at
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