September 1, 2020: COVID-19 Bystander Intervention

From: Wesleyan University

Date: September 1, 2020

Subject: COVID-19 Bystander Intervention

To the Wesleyan community,

Johanna DeBari, director of the Office of Support, Healing, Activism and Prevention Education (SHAPE), and Seirra Fowler, director of health education, recently hosted a webinar on COVID-19 Bystander Intervention. The forum provided useful tips to empower members of the campus community to positively influence the outcome of a potential violation of the Code of Conduct and the Community Agreement.  A recording of that virtual session is available on the Reactivating Campus web page.

As we all work together to maintain the safest possible campus, Wesleyan is encouraging students, faculty, and staff to speak up when they see others not abiding by community health and safety guidelines. During the Zoom forum, DeBari and Fowler shared examples of different types of intervention, including direct, distraction, and delegation, that can be used in various scenarios.

General tips for successful bystander intervention include:

  • Express care and concern by using “I” statements; use examples as the basis for your concern.
  • Center the conversation on community safety.
  • Address the problematic behavior; do not attack the person.
  • Know the resources so you can help others to adapt safer practices.
  • Model safe behaviors yourself to create a culture of safety.


University Communications