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Stand up, speak up for anti-bullying month

By Samantha NeudorfAssistant News Editor

The elementary school kids that push others down on the playground have never left. They have just evolved to a collegiate level.

Bullying no longer entails physical harm only. It has evolved to mentally traumatize people through words and actions, whether it be intentionally excluding someone from a group or writing on Facebook with your friends how much you hate someone.

Jesse Lender, junior, recalls that an administrator in the education department said to a student with learning disabilities that people with learning disabilities should not become educators.

This is an ongoing incident that occurred last fall. The student has spoken with the provost, the dean of students, and Student Affairs to take action.

“The student is looking for a sincere apology from the administrator because what she said was not accurate, especially as an educator” Lender said.

Jake Liebowitz, sophomore, encountered roommate bullying his freshman year in the Netherlands complex. His roommate and friends went through his belongings without permission. Liebowitz recalls them crushing up Bugle chips and sprinkling it over all of his possessions.

He tried to confront his roommate, but he did not want to talk. He could not speak to his RA because she was involved with athletics and barely around.

Liebowitz was ready to move out. Before he did, his suitemates locked up his futon in their room. He had to sleep over at a friend’s dorm for a few nights before moving to Stuyvesant Hall.

“If it wasn’t for my friend, I would’ve gone home,” Liebowitz said

Lana Zuaiter, sophomore, was upset when a rumor was spread about one of her close friends. It was claimed that her friend did something inappropriate.

“I feel like this stuff happens in high school,” Zuaiter said. “We should be able to maintain dignity in ourselves and not be immature… we’re too old for this.”

Hofstra addresses bullying at the Saltzman Center with services for anyone enrolled at the University.

Dr. Dodie Gillett, Saltzman staff psychologist, says bullying is different in college.

“When people get to a college level, the type of bullying changes,” Gillett said.

This includes cyberbullying and psychological bullying, which is like playing mind games and being manipulative. This is frequently seen in girls.

Gillett leads a peer group that meets every Monday night for people to share their stories.

“The point of the group is to get people to share and to feel that they’re not alone in the experience,” Gillett said.

She would like to see more bystander awareness and groups and clubs take an initiative to address bullying.

“The more people speak up, the more people will be able to minimize the issue,” Gillett said.

A Hofstra club has taken a stance on bullying. The Stand Up Speak Up (SUSU) club was started in December 2011 by sophomore Stephen Liebowitz.

Liebowitz has had experience dealing with bullies and started a campaign against it in high school. He wanted to continue this campaign at a college level.

SUSU’s motto is to lend a hand in the community and let students know that they are not alone.

“We want to be the voice for the people who can’t stand up for themselves,” Liebowitz said.

The club currently has 22 members and their goal for the semester is to bring in speakers from the Saltzman Center to train the members to be able to help in different situations.

The ultimate goal is to go to local elementary schools and become peer mentors kids who have been bullied. A personal goal for Liebowitz is to see national action

“What I want to see happen throughout the country are incidents reported to authorities,” Liebowitz said.

He has a message for everyone who is dealing with bullies:

“It will get better. Everything gets better.”

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