Bullying happens on campus, though not always recognized

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Bullying is not just a high school problem; it exists on university campuses as well. Queens is no exception

Elizabeth Davant, assistant director of Health and Wellness, works in the counseling center on campus. She says that bullying is a problem at Queens, but that we might not always think of it as bullying.

Davant says that the biggest problem in recognizing bullying is how we talk about it.

“I try to get students to start thinking in terms of harassment, because that’s what it is in terms of legal terminology,” she said. “People see bullying as normal but harassment as a problem.”

The Queens Honor Code uses the term harassment to talk about behavior that might be recognized as bullying. Will Kervick, chief justice for the Campus Judicial Board (CJB), says that some cases of harassment are severe enough that CJB has to get involved.

He said that he has served on CJB for two years and has only seen three harassment-related trials come through.

“When CJB really gets involved is when a student reports it to Campus Police or Residence Life,” he said. When harassment cases come before CJB, it is usually because the person being punished for harassment believes their punishment is too severe and is looking for a lesser punishment, he continued.


Health Risks Related to Being Bullied


What to Do If You Are Bullied

Low self-esteem Go to a counseling session
Stress Talk to your RA
Loss of community Consider your communication style
Loss of belonging See if the behavior falls under the Honor Code

 

Davant says that she has not heard much about bullying in counseling sessions, but she knows that it exists on campus. Part of the barrier to recognizing and fighting bullying, she says, is that there is a generational gap. People of an older generation tend to see bullying as normal social behavior, while younger people recognize it as something to be stopped.

Davant says that some of this gap is due to the rise in cyberbullying – bullying behavior through the Internet or other electronic communication.

“I feel like cyberbullying has just become normalized,” Davant said.

She noted that cyberbullying changes the situation because it allows large groups of people to bully where before only a small group of people could come together as bullies. Where we used to have 10 people bullying someone, she said, we now have mass bullying campaigns.

“I don’t know that older generations are really understanding what that looks like,” she said.

Davant said that it is not only older people who are allowing bullying to continue, though. Younger people participate by being passive bystanders or by encouraging people to brush it off.


Communication Problems vs. Bullying

Davant says some things that people might think are bullying are just communication problems that are part of going to a school with a population from different geographic areas with different ways of interacting.

 

“I do worry that students aren’t intervening,” she said.

Davant said there seems to be a trend of people being told not to take things too personally. She said she wonders why it is not okay to stand up for yourself and tell someone when they said something hurtful.

Davant said that she wonders when it is time for administration to become involved and when it is time for students to take responsibility for our campus culture.

“Students identify the behavior, so who’s stopping it?” she asked. “College students are adults. Start calling people out.”

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Published by students of Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28274.