Rhodes has joined colleges across the country in using the Green Dot Bystander Intervention program to promote safety on campus. Launched in 2006 at the University of Kentucky, the program trains staff to mobilize their communities to be intolerant of power-based interpersonal violence including sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking.
In January, faculty and staff from Rhodes College and The University of Memphis became the first from Memphis colleges to complete the Green Dot Bystander Intervention training. Sessions were held for four days in Rhodes’ Barret Library. Those from Rhodes include Tiffany Cox, Leah Ford, Tierney Jackson, Brittney Jackson, Kait Harris, Jess Holcomb, Angela Fletcher, Alicia Golston, and Ike Sloas.
“We learned that we have to do more than just raise awareness to be effective. An important key is asking participants to reconsider their roles in how Rhodes College prevents personal violence,” says Tierney Jackson, who is a member of Rhodes’ Title IX hearing board. “We want to provide tools and strategies that empower everyone in the community to become bystanders who intervene and prevent violence.”
Training included exercises and activities that allowed participants to practice intervention skills and to discuss ways to educate the community on how to assess situations, identify potential risks for violence, and safely intervene. A “Green Dot” is an action that promotes safety for everyone (e.g., calling Campus Safety when witnessing someone being shoved, or changing the conversation when someone is using derogatory language). Jackson says the Rhodes team is working on the specific Green Dots for Rhodes.
“I am so excited to be implementing Green Dot at Rhodes,” says Tiffany Cox, Rhodes’ Title IX coordinator. “This bystander intervention program is part of our overall strategy to increase education and awareness of Title IX related issues on campus and thereby decrease incidents of sexual misconduct. Green Dot empowers people to do what they can as individuals to help make their community safer.”
A study of college undergraduates has shown that students trained in Green Dot bystander intervention reported engaging in significantly more bystander behaviors compared to non-trained students. A five-year, independent study released in 2017 confirmed the effectiveness of the Green Dot program for high schools in Kentucky, with 300 experiences of violence dropping to 157.