Programs and Workshops

Students, faculty, and staff interested in learning more about preventing bias-related incidents are encouraged to attend the following workshops or contact us for more information.

Related Links

Research Framework for the Development of Bystander Apathy Prevention

In 1964, public safety professionals, psychologists and other mental health providers were confronted with an astonishing situation where Ms. Kitty Genovese was stabbed intermittently in public (and in full view of many local residents) for over twenty minutes, only to be left to die alone in front of the door of her own home. None of the witnesses of this protracted episode even called the police! This shocking demonstration of disregard in the face of a compelling and unfolding human tragedy will be subsequently known as Bystander Apathy.

Since this much publicized Genovese incident, researchers began to study this inclination for individuals to ignore another person in obvious distress and in need of immediate help. They found that this public behavior can be frequently witnessed across large cities (general anonymity), larger college and university campuses and in the corridors of tightly packed government housing facilities (self-imposed anonymity) but infrequently in small communities where people tend to know each by name, and may have daily contact with each other. Generally, bystander apathy behavior increased as the  number of people around an incident increased (with people developing a sense of diffused responsibility) and as the  level of need appeared more severe (with people feeling inadequate to help or fearing potential legal problems); and helping behavior increased with the decrease of social anonymity (with people feeling a heightened sense of visibility and personal responsibility). In other words, a person is more likely to intervene and help a friend in moderate level of distress, and when there are few people around to spread or take over the helping responsibility. 

In some situations, the age, race, gender, class and other social attributes of either the perpetrator or the victim is related to the probability of intervention or avoidance. Generally, people who were “pressured by time or preoccupied” are more likely to ignore another person in distress and needing help.

In sum, Bystander Apathy is most likely to occur when 1) the person in distress is not known by people passing by, 2) an incident happens in a the midst of a large crowd of transient or busy people, and 3) the perceived need of a person in distress appears needing specialized skills (fear of being sued for potential harm done).

General Workshop Outline

(60/90 Minutes)
  • What is Bystander Apathy?
  • Analysis of one’s work and living environment
  • Examples of people needing support and intervention
  • Why choose to (passively) contribute to harm/suffering?
  • Examine self-concept, personal values and willingness to intervene
  • Cost analysis: Overcoming resistance to take on perceived risk
  • Learn to experience the Other as someone who can matter in one’s life
  • Identifying ways to provide support for a person in distress/needing help

Intercultural Sensitivity and Development

Moving beyond Denial, Defense and Minimization Stages

(Two Sessions: 90 minutes each)

Creating inclusive environments that make the most of people’s diverse experiences, ideas, and talents is important to maintaining a competitive advantage in higher education.

This workshop uses an integrated approach to developing intercultural sensitivity through Milton Bennett’s Intercultural Sensitivity Development Model. The Good Samaritan Parable is used as an introductory point of entry along with discussion of personal reaction in response to situations that occur on the campus.

There will be small group discussions to actively engage participants in examples of ethnocentricity; and a short “skit “may be used to open this phase of the workshop. All participants will be asked to reflect on his/her attitude toward differences, including race, class, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and abilities. Interactions during the workshop will be kept confidential because participants will be encouraged to share personal experiences.

Learning Outcomes

Helps participants:

  • Understand that intercultural sensitivity-and-competency is more than knowing how to behave appropriately in settings involving other cultures.
  • Recognize their own world view in relationship to cultural others.
  • Work more collaboratively and productively with people from different cultures.

Schedule a Workshop

Specific workshops will be designed for a particular audience and to address a category/type of distress.


Steblay, N.M. (1987). Helping behavior in rural and urban environments: A meta-analysis. Psychology Bulletin 102(3) 346-356.

Darley, J.M. and Latene, B. (1968). Bystander intervention in emergencies, diffusion of responsibilities. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8(4), 377-383.

Hart, T. and Miethe, T. (2008). Exploring by stander presence and intervention in non-fatal violent victimization: When does helping really help? Violence and Victims, 23(5), 637.