What should we do if we see someone inappropriately touched without consent?

How should we respond if we see someone take a drink that might be spiked? Should we get involved if we see a couple get into an argument and things get violent? To ensure that students, faculty and staff are prepared to prevent dating violence, sexual violence, and stalking on and off campus, Adelphi is participating in the Green Dot Initiative.

Green Dot is a nationally recognized prevention and bystander engagement program for colleges and universities. Through Green Dot’s interactive bystander training, participants will have the tools and resources necessary to be proactive bystanders who make a difference.

“Every single person is a bystander at some point in their life,” said Anna Zinko, assistant dean for student and community engagement. “We’ve heard from students that they want to be engaged bystanders who make our campus a safer and more inclusive place. We think that Green Dot provides some framework and tools for people to be able to do that.”

Adelphi’s Green Dot training is sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, Adelphi University Athletics and the Office of Human Resources. A session will be held on November 17.

The idea behind Green Dot is that if every member of the Adelphi community does their small part, a culture will be created where violence has no room to exist. Every time someone on campus prevents violence—such as unwanted touching, stalking or intimate partner violence—a figurative green dot is created on campus. Adelphi’s goal is to create these figurative green dots all over campus as opposed to red dots, which represent acts of sexual violence and harassment.

“A red dot can be someone showing up outside a former partner’s classroom when they’re unwanted, or somebody making a sexual comment,” said Zinko. “Any time these things are happening, there’s an opportunity for somebody to intervene. We want the whole campus to be filled with green dots to prevent this type of violence from happening in our community.”

Direct, Delegate, Distract

Students will receive bystander training, designed to encourage them to think critically about what consent means for themselves and others. Students are empowered to speak up about what they do and don’t consent to. This includes consent for sexual activity such as kissing, groping or any contact meant to erotically stimulate someone. Students also discuss different bystander situations and explore the ways that they can intervene effectively.

Scott Zotto ’04, MSW ’09, coordinator of substance abuse counseling and prevention programming, explained, “When it comes to intervening, some students may ask, ‘What if I do the wrong thing? What if I say the wrong thing? What if I intervene in a situation that isn’t even a problem? What if I’m missing half of the story?’ Using the three D’s is how we approach bystander training.”

The three D’s—direct, delegate and distract—illustrate three ways a bystander can intervene. Participants will learn how each of these three components can be used in a situation that requires intervention.

Intervention Training for Everyone

Adelphi is ranked in the top 20 percent on Niche’s 2022 list of Safest College Campuses in America. To continue to keep the campus a safe place for everyone, leaders from all over campus, including Zinko and Zotto, went to a national Green Dot Institute where they received resources to help shape what the bystander training will look like, not just for students but for the entire Adelphi community. Faculty and staff are encouraged to participate in Green Dot trainings. A staff training for employees will be held virtually on November 19.

“There are a lot of adults who also don’t know how to intervene when they see something happening,” said Zotto. “Faculty get to learn what their responsibilities are when in the room with a student and what they model for students. This is also for them.”

Adelphi leaders are also looking to offer Green Dot training “to engage as many people in our community as possible,” Zinko said, adding, “It’s more than just training, it’s a movement. The more we give folks the tools necessary to be able to intervene well, the better off our community is going to be.”

All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to receive Green Dot training.

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