Lecture talks bullying, value of civility
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 03:10
For Kent Weeks, bullying is not just an issue faced on the elementary school playgrounds – it’s an issue prevalent on college campuses.
As a part of Diversity Week at West Virginia University, the Nashville, Tenn., author and attorney presented "Civility Moving Forward" Tuesday in the Mountainlair.
Weeks said the subject is one he passionate about and is included in his research on the topic of "Passive Bullying: How Bystanders Control Harassment."
Weeks shared his passionate views toward bullying in the college setting – something he believes many either ignore or are unaware of.
"I wanted to help students, educators and the general public become aware of and begin to talk about the issues surrounding bullying and civility in the college setting," he said.
Weeks began his discussion by addressing the main issue: bullying and the civility that can be used to help reduce and eliminate the issue within a community.
Weeks defined bullying as "the use of force or coercion to abuse others or influence them in ways that are harmful."
Weeks also discussed civility, which he defined as "a sense of community and the notion of responsibility to help form this sense of community."
He emphasized this tied with the ancient Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would do unto yourself".
Weeks shared the importance of third party actions that can be taken when encountering bullying.
He discussed measures a person who is experiencing bullying from a third-person point of view can take in a stand against the bully.
Weeks incorporated descriptions of real-life situations within his presentation so the audience could discuss possible solutions to these situations.
At one point during the presentation, the audience was divided into four small groups and given
questions pertaining to the situations that were given.
In these groups, audience members were given the task of working together to answer questions and were then asked to take that information and the strategies back to their co-workers, peers and friends.
Junior English student Jenna Riggs was one of the more outspoken audience members and took full advantage of the presentation.
"I came tonight because the topic really interests me. The most beneficial thing so far has been reading and considering the circumstances in these scenarios," she said.
"It has helped me understand the place that bullying has in our society as well as the role that civility plays."
The remainder of the presentation discussed steps the students and the public could take to help decrease these issues within the University as well as the impact this behavior has on a university and the students within it.
"I hope that the audience takes the techniques they have learned and starts to put pressure on bullying and increase civility within the community," Weeks said.
The issue of bullying vs. civility is a constant struggle within communities, but public figures like Weeks are attempting to spread the word on how to fight and discontinue this issue.
For more information refer to Weeks’s book, "In Search of Civility: Confronting Incivility on the College Campus," which further discusses these topics and gives solutions and techniques.