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Bystander Intervention

Southeast Missouri State University promotes healthy choices, civility, and respect for all. The university strives to protect students, staff and visitors from harm and assist them when they are in need. Most risky and problematic behaviors on college campuses involve bystanders (people watching or in the area). There may be times when you may need to stop being an observer (BYSTANDER) and STEP UP or act/react in some way (INTERVENTION).

Students are expected to alert appropriate officials, including Resident Assistants (RA), Hall Directors (HD), University Police (DPS), other staff and/or faculty when they observe a health or safety emergency especially ones that includes the abuse of alcohol or drugs — even if these actions are in violation of the Southeast Missouri State University Statement of Student Rights and Code of Student Conduct (Code).

Some students may not want to report things they observe due to fear of getting in trouble (disciplinary action), so the University has adopted these guidelines to ease those concerns and promote bystander intervention even when Code violations are occurring. For example, two underage students have been consuming alcohol and one is extremely intoxicated, we want the other student to notify a University official so they can determine if the student needs medical attention.

In a situation involving a serious threat to the health or safety of any student(s), we expect a bystander to do the following:

  1. Contact emergency officials by calling 911 off-campus or (573) 651-2215 on-campus or contact and member of the staff, faculty, or an RA/HD who is nearby;
  2. Remain with the individual(s) needing emergency treatment and cooperate with emergency officials if it is safe to do so; and
  3. Meet with appropriate University officials after the incident and cooperate with any University review.

The University will consider the positive impact of taking responsibility to act (bystander intervention) in the emergency situation when dealing with the incident. This means that in most circumstances, no formal University disciplinary actions or sanctions will be imposed for alcohol or drug infractions. However, the incident will be documented, and alcohol and/or drug education may be required as a condition of deferring disciplinary actions or sanctions. These guidelines do not protect against repeated, flagrant, or serious violations of the Code (including physical or sexual assault, violence, hazing, harassment, theft, or vandalism or instances where multiple individuals need medical attention), nor does it prevent action by University Police or other law enforcement agencies.

Student organizations and student groups are also expected to follow these guidelines in emergency situations as well through their officers and members. A student organization or group’s compliance with these guidelines will be considered when determining the outcome or sanction of an incident that would usually lead to disciplinary charges/action against the organization. Failure of students or student organizations to take responsible actions in an emergency situation where action is clearly warranted, however, may void all protections under these guidelines; may constitute an aggravating factor for purposes of sanctioning; and may lead to further disciplinary actions for the student or the student organization(s).


(573) 986-6899
Crisp Hall 201-202

Campus Violence Prevention Program
One University Plaza, MS 2030
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701