News / On Campus

The Evolution of Bullying

BY: JENNIFER GAGLIARDI

Most people look at bullying as the problem of a younger generation. However, this social form of harassment is moving into college campuses across the country. According to the Buffalo University Anti-Bullying Initiative, about 100,000 students drop out of school due to bullying each year. This type of bullying, although different from high school and middle school harassment, can be just as damaging.

There are several ways that bullying can manifest itself at colleges and universities. The environmental stressors include professors, hazing, and other peers. Cyber bullying is the most prominent, with technology making it even easier to attack people from behind an anonymous computer screen.

College is a much more competitive environment; many students become overwhelmed with the workload and turn to negative actions as a result. There is also a lack of direct authority. Without administrators to monitor these situations, small incidents can easily evolve into bullying situations.

Recently, the SJC Talon did it’s own bullying survey across the campus. The results were positive, with only 7% of the 457 participating students answering “yes” to having ever been bullied in college. Expanding on that, the majority of these instances were verbal, as opposed to social or physical. About 12% of students had witnessed bullying throughout their time at St. Joseph’s.

The survey also showed that only about 36% of students know where to go when they are feeling threatened. For these situations, any student can go talk to the Dean of Students Susan Hudec about the problem. There, both parties can work out a solution and move forward from the incident. In addition, any student who wishes to discuss the matter with someone can go to the Wellness Center and speak with a counselor.

Some of these bullying problems can actually be traced back to high school. Thanks to modern technology, it’s easy to keep in touch with both friends and enemies alike, making people easy targets over Twitter, Facebook and other sites. The major draw of this type of harassment is the sense of anonymity, making the bully feel more powerful from their technological device. Fake profiles and unkind anonymous messages are common and damaging to a college student’s reputations.

If you or anyone you know is being bullied, take it seriously. Bullying can have a very damaging effect on people, in some cases even resulting in mental health problems. Studies have shown that some cases of severe bullying can lead to depression, eating disorders and other social or mental problems.

The best way to handle an incident is to stay calm and get someone involved. Whether it’s a friend, a trusted professor, or even the Dean, a voice of reason can make a huge difference. If it’s occurring online, try to report the person or people who are harassing you. Eliminating the profile can sometimes subdue the situation completely. Also, keep in mind that a lot of people act out because of their own internalized problems. It’s very possible that behind any given bully is another one who harassed him or her at some point.

Although it seems like most people left bullying in their teenage pasts, it can be a serious issue in both small and large college campuses. Tackling this type of harassment is a key to creating a safer and more welcoming social situation in schools across the country.

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