The independent student news organization of Nicholls State University

The problem with bullying at Louisiana colleges

November 10, 2016

Louisiana was ranked among the top ten states with worst bullying problems in a recent research published by the website BackgroundChecks.org on Oct. 26, 2016.

According to the website research, the state placed first among states in which students were involved in a fight and second among states in where they were injured in a physical fight. Louisiana also ranked the top state where students were threatened or injured with a weapon on school property.

The Director of University Counseling Center and University Health Services Adrienne Naquin-Bolton explained that bullying in college is related to issues like race, age, sexuality and political views.

“Bullying absolutely does happen,” Bolton said. “And we are hopping that bullying [in college] is something we can address.”

Although bullying in college exists, there is not much research about college bullying and that can be for a wide variety of reasons.

“One of those reasons is the thought that it doesn’t exist, that it is confined to grade school, which we know it is not a fact,” Bolton said. “Another reason is because we don’t term it bullying – we might use the term harassment – when we are talking about the young adult populations.”

Students who are victims of harassment on campus are oriented by Nicholls Code of Student Conduct to follow a procedure with the Behavior intervention team.
After properly addressing the issue, recommendations to seek council advice at the schools counseling center are made.

Nicholls State University Counseling Center provides students with resources to help them deal with a range of issues, including bullying.

“We offer a non-judgmental space for students to process their feelings about anything, work with them on assertive skills for them to be able to stand up to bullying behaviors and encourage social support,” Bolton said.

Bolton also explained that sometimes students are seeking council at the center for issues that are steaming from bullying situations, even though they may not realize that is the root of the problem.

“Maybe they are coming for anxiety, depression or academic issues and as we dig deeper we may find where it is coming from,” Bolton said.

According to her, it is very important for the students to find a safe place and a group of people that can serve as their foundation to help them to embrace their individuality apart from what the bullying perpetrator may be telling them.

“It is very easy to become isolated and to think that you are the only person this is happening to,” Bolton said.

Bolton said that it would take a community effort to stop bullying from happening in a college environment.

“Campus communities are only as safe as their abilities to sustain a culture of caring,” Bolton quoted from David Spano’s research article “Nurturing institutional cultures of caring.”

“It is up to each of us individually to see if we are treating our fellow students, faculty and staff with a sense of respect, caring and appreciation for all the unique gifts and talents we all bring to the table,” Bolton said.

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