Week takes full focus on bullying

Nicholas Birdsong

The issue of bullying takes center stage this week as Washburn University observes national No Name Calling Week.

There will be events hosted every day through Friday.

“It was born out of all the suicides that had happened recently due to bullying,” said Marsha Carrasco Cooper, director of Student Activities and Greek Life. “Unfortunately that is nothing new. For whatever reason it became a media story recently which is unfortunate, but we as advocates are taking advantage of the media to bring focus to the issue.”

Bullying is particularly common for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, according to Carrasco Cooper. Many of the events will put particular focus on LGBT discrimination.

Washburn’s participation in the national campaign came as result of many different campus organizations working in conjunction. The Social Justice League, the Sociology/Anthropology Club, OPEN and many other groups are sponsors.

“It has been frantic to get everything in place but we have managed to do it,” said Resa Boydston, Washburn student and event organizer. “There were some activities planned already by other groups, and so we included them as a part of the week. It has really ballooned into a big collaborative effort.”

Several professors in different departments are contributing by providing extra credit for students who attend the event, according to Boydston.

The activity on Monday featured showing of the film “Precious” starting at 5 p.m. in Mabee Library. The titular character faces severe bullying from her mother and others.

The Union also hosted Safe Zone Ally training from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday. The two-hour event was an abbreviated session that taught attendees how to become advocates and allies for LBGT individuals, as well as how to deal with bullying, according to Carrasco Cooper.

Keynote speaker Faisal Alam was featured at 5 p.m. on Wednesday in Washburn Room B. Alam is an openly gay Muslim dedicated to LGBT causes.

A concert will be held for Thursday’s part of No Name Calling Week. Starlume, an alternative rock band from Nashville, Tenn. will perform at 7 p.m. in the Washburn Room of the Memorial Union.

“Cookies, Cocoa and Conversation” will wrap up the week of events on Friday. A presentation will be given honoring retiring professor Bill Roach after 28 years at Washburn.

“He has been a huge advocate for social justice,” said Carassco Cooper. “He has always been very involved in social justice advocacy, so we are taking the opportunity during no name calling week because it is exactly the sort of thing that he has been passionate about his entire time here.”