volley ball safety

Student Wellness: Students Step Up During Campus Safety Demonstration

Silver City, NM- WNMU Student Health and Student Life held four role-playing demonstrations  around campus on Tuesday, September 26. These demonstrations featured “what would you do” scenarios including such topics as bullying, hostile arguments and harassment. The demonstrations were overseen by WNMU Counselor Sarah Guck and the Directors of Student Activities Abe Villareal and Jessica Morales. Several upstanding WNMU students were also participants in the demonstrations. The point of the demonstrations was to see which students were B.A.D.A.S.S- students that could Be Aware to Decide to take Action and Say Something.

Each demonstration featured an assailant and a victim in different role-playing scenarios. Lucy Denton played the role of a student that no one wanted to sit with. Samantha Garcia played the role of a student being stalked around C-Rec by her fellow student Patrick. Two Students, Kyle and Dystiney, pretended to have a heated argument outside of Mustang Village and lastly, two Mustang Village residents, CJ and Christopher, staged a confrontation in the hallways of Mustang Village. In three of the four scenarios, students intervened, with Lady Mustang Volleyball Players Kaitlyn Rutherford and Jaden Wright standing up for Lucy, students Lya Navarrate and Alan Aceves Canizales intervening on Samantha’s behalf and student John Martinez stepping between Kyle and Dystiney. No students intervened in the “altercation” between CJ and Christopher.

After each scenario, Sarah, Abe and Jessica would hold a discussion with the surrounding students, asking them why they did or didn’t intervene. This led to what Sarah described as several excellent and though-provoking conversations. While students elected not to intervene in the staged altercation between CJ and Christopher because “no punches had been thrown,” Sarah explained that they still could have contacted their R.A. or even the campus police department.

Some students had concerns about the event upon seeing the notifications on both social media and the WNMU app. Sarah assured that safety was the highest priority in planning the demonstrations and answered several questions that had been presented to The Mustang by different students.

  • Certain scenarios were left off the table, such as domestic violence and sexual assault. Sarah explained that these scenarios were a bit too extreme and could put both role-players and bystanders at risk.
  • All role-players in each scenario were active participants with the ability to “call time-out” should things go in the wrong direction. Participants had complete control of their scenarios at all times and it was only the students that intervened in each role-play that were unaware that it was a staged event.
  • Role-players were prohibited from making physical contact with one another.
  • Not only campus police, but also the local law enforcement in the surrounding area were notified about the different drills happening on campus and were standing by to provide assistance as needed.

Sarah stated that the students that came forward and helped out their fellow Mustangs were amazing and was both impressed and very proud. Abe Villareal echoed her statements and expressed hope that the University would have similar demonstrations in the future. Stories of each individual encounter can be found on the WNMU Student Affairs and Enrollment Facebook Page.

Sarah hopes that these demonstrations encourage further conversation and discussions about campus safety and invites any students with anecdotes, ideas or concerns to meet with her. Her office is located in the first floor of the Juan Chacon building in Student Health Services, or you can give her a call at  575-538-6014 or reach her by email at sarah.guck@wnmu.edu.

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Eric Lowe is the current Editor of the Mustang Newspaper. He has been writing professionally since August 2014.