By Mollee Girgen
Bystander No More is a C Mod class that was added to the course listings for Fall 2017. The course listing states, “This course will introduce students to tools and intellectual frameworks for navigating situations when speaking up in
community seems hard. Biblical, theological and Benedictine readings and film will be used to explore models of community, solidarity and respect for all persons. Students will consider constructive means for moving from inaction to active participation in communal transformation.”
Kathryn Cox, a professor within the theology department, is the course moderator for this class. Proposing and developing the course material came to her from several events and inspirations starting last semester.
“My thought process in proposing it came from several impetuses. I’d been wanting to do something more with the Benediction tradition,” Cox said.
With the mod class Cox hopes that students will be able to speak up.
“Students don’t want to offend people even if they want to stand up and say something,” Cox said. “I thought, ‘well maybe there is something that we can do with the students here and bring those pieces together.’ Rather than do a full class for a full semester, let me test it in a mod class.”
This course offers students the opportunity to learn more on how to combat against the bystander effect, and speaking up for what they believe.
“What I hoped students would take away from the class is learning to know when to speak in community,” Cox said. “A couple of things [that were important] to understand are why we don’t speak up (even when we want to), and that learning to be an advocate for justice, learning to stand up when we’re afraid is a process and that it’s like a skill. It’s like any other skill and it develops over time, with practice. I was also hoping that we learned together that we’re not alone and that it’s easier to stand up for what’s right, when we’re doing it together.”
The class met once a week on Tuesday’s during the C Mod as a trial run for the class, as for the mod class becoming a permanent full semester course Cox is unsure.
“I have to do some more thinking about it. I think that there’s enough material to develop it. I hope eventually, yes,” Cox said.