Internal Evaluation of Utah State University’s bystander intervention program shows participants have an increased awareness of the signs of problematic situations, and are more likely to stand up and intervene.
“Bystander intervention programs are effective because they help set community standards for behavior and reinforce positive group dynamics,” said Emmalee Fishburn, Title IX prevention specialist. “These programs also provide an opportunity for participants to learn problem-solving skills and practice those skills in a low-risk space.”
Utah State’s bystander intervention program, “Upstanding – Stepping Up to Prevent Violence in Utah,” was introduced in fall 2017. Upstanding teaches participants the skills needed to help in situations involving sexual misconduct, mental health concerns, drug and alcohol misuse, bias and discrimination.
After attending the Upstanding training, participants were more likely to be able to identify situations when:
- “Someone has consumed too many drugs”
- “Someone is experiencing discrimination”
- “Someone is experiencing mental health concerns”
Participants also reported being more likely to be an active bystander by:
- “Talking to someone who is experiencing mental health concerns”
- “Calling 911 when someone has had too much alcohol to drink or has consumed too many drugs”
The Upstanding program was delivered to 2,974 individuals in the 2017-18 academic year and 3,969 in 2018-19. Three-quarters of participants were new students enrolled in Connections, a two-credit academic course that prepares freshman for college. Introducing incoming students to bystander intervention is particularly important as national research shows undergraduate female students are most at risk for sexual assault in their first few years of college, particularly within the first few months of the academic year.
Other participants included student-athletes on both the Logan and Eastern campuses, fraternity and sorority members and student leaders at the Logan, Eastern, and Blanding campuses. Some staff and faculty attended the program, but they were not asked to participate in the evaluation.
Program evaluation was done through matched pre- and post-training surveys that were filled out by participants through an online platform.
Director of Crisis Communications and Issues Management
Public Relations and Marketing
Office of Equity