Syracuse University Hosts Bystander Intervention Training for Sexual Misconduct Syracuse University Hosts Bystander Intervention Training

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)-Universities around New York State and across the country are back in session, all excited for what the new school year will bring. However, being back on campus does not just mean being back with friends and attending new classes, it also mean instances of sexual misconduct on campus are returning to their lives. Syracuse University graduate student Dylan Antigua believes that sexual misconduct is something that is definitely seen on campus and a problem that needs to be addressed.

“It’s something that is very present, especially at a big school like this,” says Antigua.

His response is a common one when students are asked about sexual misconduct on campus. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), 13% of all students experience rape or sexual assault, and 26.4% of female undergraduate students experience sexual assault. While sexual misconduct is clearly a widespread issue on college campuses, many students do not know they have the tools they need to intervene in a situation related to sexual misconduct.

Syracuse University’s Barnes Center at the Arch is looking to change that. Counselors at the Barnes Center recognize the problem that sexual misconduct poses on college campuses and has begun conducting bystander intervention trainings to help students learn how to help make a difference.  Training and Development Specialist Christina Percoski is leading these trainings and acknowledges that intervening in a potentially dangerous situation is not only uncomfortable, but can also be unsafe.  Outright confrontation may seem like the most obvious way to break up a situation involving sexual misconduct, but this intervention does not always need to be so direct.

“You know just distracting–you see something going on and you say, ‘Hey do you know the number for the pizza place?’ or ‘Hey you’re Uber’s here I just saw it pull up’ those kinds of distraction strategies,” suggested Percoski.

If bystander trainings like the ones offered at Syracuse University are rolled out around the state and the country, counselors are hopeful that incidents of sexual assault and misconduct will drop. However, for now, they will have to wait and see if these trainings do their job.

The next bystander intervention training will be offered on November 9. Those interested in the event can register on the Barnes Center’s website at

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