Campus office work to fight cyberbullying

By Drew Teague

Cyberbullying has recently been in the national news’ spotlight, and UK officials said because of technology, the ease of cyberbullying has risen.

Associate Dean of Students Dana Macaulay said cyberbullying is classified as bullying through some electronic medium.

“Here at UK that’s usually Facebook or MySpace or e-mail, texting, things like that,” Macaulay said.

Counseling Center Director Mary Bolin said technology makes it easier for bullies to pick on their victims.

“There are a lot of ways to scare or victimize another individual,” Bolin said. “Today’s technology allows that to happen with greater anonymity, and it makes it easier for a ‘gang’ to form online more quickly than in physical space.”

Macaulay said online bullying is more considered as harassment, because bullying presents that one person has power over the other.

“Here [at UK] that kind of thing occurs between students that are equally powered,” Macaulay said.

Macaulay said UK treats cyber bullying the same as if someone reports being bullied in person.

“We treat virtual harassment and virtual bullying the same way we would treat it as if it happened in the physical realm,” Macaulay said. “I think that we do try to address those things aggressively.”

The Code of Student Conduct addresses harassment specifically under “prohibited conduct.”

Anyone harassing another student on university property can be punished with anything from a warning to expulsion, according to the code.

“I think our administrative regulations and the Code of Conduct and everything is fixed to kind of encourage [the community to treat each other with respect],” Macaulay said.

To report cyberbullying, students can call UK Police or the Dean of Students Office.