A bystander intervention training class, empowering people to not stand idly by if they sense a situation that could lead to sexual assault or rape, is set for Utah State University on Thursday.
The class — supported by USU Students for Choice, the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault and other groups — will be from 6 to 9 p.m. March 30 in Old Main, Room 326, according to a news release from UCASA.
Turner Bitton, executive director of UCASA, talked about why his organization is sponsoring the class.
“The most important thing for us is making sure we create a culture that rewards intervention, that protects and prevents sexual violence,” Bitton said.
The class is not just for the USU campus community; everyone is welcome, organizers say.
“It’s for all community members to learn how to take action when you see something that might be a risk for sexual violence, what to say if there’s verbal harassment,” said Jasmine Despain, president of USU Students for Choice, a club on campus associated with Planned Parenthood that advocates safe sex. “With that, you can make it safer for everyone, use your voice to create action.”
Participants of the class will come away with several tools: “Be able to define and identify harm and violence; be able to define and identify bystander intervention opportunities; skills and behaviors to prevent harm or violence; understand and be able to articulate what harm and bystander intervention are and why it is important to get involved,” according to the UCASA statement.
Leading the class is Marty Liccardo, men’s engagement specialist with the Utah Department of Health, with a focus on the newly released Bystander Intervention Curriculum, “Upstanding: Stepping Up to Prevent Violence in Utah.”
“The reason we’re using (Liccardo) is this is actually a training the trainer training, where folks can be certified to then go on to be a facilitator of this training in their community,” Bitton said.
Bitton said the USU meeting will be the first such class supported by UCASA held at a higher education institution in Utah, but other classes have been held in conjunction with university programs. Salt Lake Community College and Weber State University will likely see bystander intervention courses with support from UCASA in the future.
“We are focused on getting young people involved, but the reason we locate these around universities is because we get a very diverse group of people,” Bitton said.
The bystander intervention class comes the same year USU launched the “I Will” campaign, an effort created by USU officials to get members of the university community to commit to bystander intervention.
That campaign follows another one USU officials organized in the fall, called, “Consent Is,” teaching students about what defines consensual sex.
Both campaigns are part of USU’s efforts to improve sexual violence prevention and response. USU was rocked last summer with allegations from multiple women — some of them students — who accused former Aggie linebacker Torrey Green. Some of the alleged victims criticized the way USU and law enforcement handled their complaints.
Green is due in First District Court in Logan this week, with hearing scheduled for Wednesday through Friday.