Letter to the Editor: In Response to Bullying Article

In response to last week’s article on bullying, I wanted to add that Youngstown State University has a very clear policy on bullying and harassment in “The Student Code of Conduct” (Article III. 3. Bullying and Harassment). I think it’s important that the campus, and not just our students, understand that this policy exists, and that the Office of Student Conduct will take reports at any time if students feel that they have been the target of or otherwise witnessed such behavior.

To be clear, we have a definition of bullying and harassment because sometimes students experience things that make them uncomfortable. But being made uncomfortable is not the same as being harassed. Harassment is not a petty insult or comment, nor is it a roommate or acquaintance who chooses not to engage with you, nor is it a debate of ideas or issues in a legitimate setting. Someone disagreeing with you, or saying something you don’t like isn’t harassment. Harassment is typically a pattern of behavior (though sometimes a single incident) that harasses or intimidates someone (individually or as part of a group) and is considered unreasonable from an objective standpoint.

While I appreciate the tenor of the earlier article and the fact that it discussed some campus resources (like CARE and the Office of Student Outreach and Support) for folks who are experiencing difficulty on campus, I think it’s more important that the campus understands that we won’t stand for this behavior.

In a world where social media makes harassment that much easier, and where many students tell stories about things they experienced in the K-12 education system that were not properly addressed, I want our students to know that they do have the option and right to file a formal report, and that there are options for addressing such behavior, including through the student conduct process.

For more information, I urge students to read the policy as listed in “The Student Code of Conduct” under Article III. Student Conduct Standards: https://ysu.edu/student-conduct/code-of-conduct.”

Kelly Beers
Title IX Director

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