WellCAT ambassadors teach students how to be effective bystanders

WellCAT ambassadors talk about the safety in Hale Library on March 15, 2018. (Hasan Albasri | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State’s WellCAT ambassadors presented a Community Safety Talk on active bystander intervention at noon on Thursday in Hale Library. The presentation focused on alcohol usage, sexual assault and relationship abuse.

Justin McCartney, WellCAT ambassador and junior in kinesiology, said tense situations can have unhappy endings if witnesses do not overcome the stigma of being a bystander.

“I think it’s a big thing to get past the stigma side of things, where being a bystander is easily taken place because most people, if you’re in a big public area, think that it is the other person’s responsibility and not mine,” McCartney said. “Today’s presentation focused on having discussion slides with direct questions to get the audience involve to hear what other responses had to say if they were put in those situations.”

The presentation also keyed in on the role of faculty members.

Jenny Yuen, health educator at Lafene Health Center and advisor for the WellCAT ambassador program, explained how faculty can be unaware of students’ situations.

“I think faculty can see that they may not be in these certain situations physically, but if students come to them with those situations then its good for them to know what to do with whatever it may be, this including how to get help or how to even talk to a student,” Yuen said. “It’s also another way for faculty and staff to understand the situations students can come into in their everyday lives.”

K-State Police officer Randy Myles said it is important to safely take a stand in situations that may come up in different circumstances.

“We want people to feel like they can help a person because a lot of time people feel like they can’t, and this training is to provide them with the tools that they will need so they can feel like they can help someone during whatever type of event,” Myles said. “Please come talk to the K-State police department as well because we do want our students and faculty to feel comfortable when telling us about the situations.”