Dal shows its anti-bullying colours
Celebrating Pink Day
Katherine Wooler - October 9, 2012
Dalhousie campuses colour-coordinated for a good cause on September 28 as members of the university community said “no” to bullying and took part in Pink Day.
Ever since Nova Scotian high school students led the charge by wearing pink to support peers who had been bullied, Pink Day has been a show of support for others and of zero tolerance for bullying.
Dal began observing Pink Day three years ago, sparked by staff within custodial services of Facilities Management, but the event is now celebrated across all four Dalhousie campuses.
“Bullying is a workplace concern and an academic concern,” said Janice MacInnis, coordinator for organizational health with Dal Human Resources. “Anywhere that engages groups of people has the potential for bullying and conflict.”
MacInnis helped organize Dal’s Pink Day events with the goal of promoting a respectful university community for both students and employees.
On Pink Day, engaged students, faculty and staff enjoyed complimentary cakes and apples at the Sexton, Carleton and Agricultural campuses, a lunch and campus walk at the Dalhousie Medicine site in Saint John, and a barbeque on the Studley quad.
See also: Pink Day photo essay
A responsibility to speak up
Speakers at the Studley event included Vice-President Student Services Bonnie Newman, DSU President Jamie Arron, and Jacob MacIsaac from Dal Security.
MacIsaac, Dal’s community safety officer, shared a personal story from his past about being a bystander to bulling in a workplace. He admitted that, at the time of the incident, he said nothing when he overheard one co-worker making disrespectful and racist comments to another.
“It’s a place we’ve all been at some point or another, hearing things and seeing things and wishing we didn’t,” said MacIsaac after recounting his experience.
MacIsaac believes that “doing anything is better than doing nothing,” and he now encourages others to prevent further bullying by speaking up now.
“I think stories resonate with people,” he said.
A celebration to break the silence
The motto for this year’s Pink Day was “Respect . . . Pass it on.” It’s a message aimed at bystanders as much as bullies, because it’s up to everyone to shut down bullying and disrespect.
“Those who witness disrespectful behaviour also have a responsibility to address it,” explained MacInnis. “Silence enables the behaviour to continue.”
Dal’s Office of Human Rights, Equity & Harassment Prevention is there to support anyone who needs support. The office partnered with Human Resources, Student Services, the DSU and Facilities Management to host Pink Day. The event was also supported by the President’s Office and Shepell.fgi, Dal’s Employee and Family Assistance Program provider.
As the University Club cooked up hotdogs and hamburgers for a long line of people in pink, others took part in the festive music and face paining. A white board and empty picture frame allowed passersby to share their thoughts on respect and capture the moment.
“Rather than highlight bullying as a problem,” said MacInnis, “we prefer to speak about what we want more of: Respect . . . Pass it on.”
See also: Pink Day photo essay