St. Joseph’s College continues to take a stand against bullying.
As part of the First Year Experience for freshmen, students signed a pledge Monday promising to be an “upstander” – instead of a bystander – if they witness bullying on campus. An upstander stands up for their peers when they are being bullied instead of remaining quiet when they witness the act.
Monday’s pledge was the fourth time SJC Brooklyn participated in the campaign organized by the Tyler Clementi Foundation. The foundation was started by the family of Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University student who committed suicide in 2010 after he was cyberbullied.
The Tyler Clementi Foundation sends the message to students to stand up for their peers who are the victims of bullying. Standing up to the bully or offering kind words to a victim goes a long way – and sometimes can save a life.
The foundation offers a “#Day1 Declaration” for a school leader to read, followed by a “#Day1 Upstander Pledge” for freshmen to take.
Jaime Vacca, executive director of student life, who helped lead students through the pledge, said it’s important to continue to share Tyler Clementi’s story as a gentle reminder to students to stand up to bullies.
“We like to think this is a positive thing, that we’re shining light on this situation, and hopefully preventing the same thing from happening in the future,” Vacca said.
Standing Up To Bullying Together
Every freshman class to come through SJC Brooklyn since 2015 has supported and signed the pledge with enthusiasm, Vacca said. During #Day1 students are reminded of the College’s own zero-tolerance policy against bullying.
And the same zero-tolerance attitude towards bullying was stressed in the message from the Tyler Clementi Foundation that Vacca read to her class:
“In this place we expect you to do your best to demonstrate respect, understanding, empathy and kindness to everyone,” Vacca read. “If you see someone doing harm to another person, do something: report it, or if you feel safe, try to stop it.
“Joining in or doing nothing is not being respectful or kind. If you feel like going the extra step, approach the person who was targeted later with a kind word or gesture. You might just be saving someone’s life.”