UT Tyler

Swoop In: A Bystander Intervention Program

A UT System Initiative

What does Swoop In do?

Swoop In provides training and resources to UT Tyler students, faculty and staff in order to provide the campus community with the tools and motivation to create a culture of care.

What is Bystander Intervention?

Bystander intervention is recognizing a potentially harmful situation or interaction and choosing to respond in a way that could positively influence the outcome.

Swoop In Steps to Intervention

  1. Recognize potential harm.
  2. Choose to respond.
  3. Take action.

Recognize > Choose > Act

Step 1: Recognize Potential Harm

What can harm look like?

  • Concerning behavior
  • Academic integrity
  • High-risk drinking
  • Interpersonal violence
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Mental health concerns
  • Hazing
  • Harassment*
  • Hate speech*
  • Bias incidents*

*These behaviors may be expressions of racism, ableism, transphobia, homophobia, biphobia, sexism and other forms of systemic oppression.

What is a harmful situation?
Anything that constitutes a negative physical, mental, social or emotional response, affecting a community, a group of individuals or a single person.

What constitutes an emergency?
Anything that requires immediate or urgent response.

Step 2: Choose to Respond
Choosing to respond is a tricky balance between the person and the context of the situation. There are a number of barriers that a person might need to overcome to be motivated and willing to intervene. Swoop In promotes strategies to help reduce these barriers and empower individuals to assume personal and collective responsibility.

Barriers to Intervene

  • "I'm sure someone else will do something, so I don't need to." Also known as diffusion of responsibility, or the tendency to discount personal responsibility because others are involved. The more people present, the less one feels responsible to intervene.
  • "I'm not responsible, it's someone else's problem." Also known as displacement of responsibility, or a tendency to avoid accountability for taking action.
  • "No-one else thinks this is a problem so it's not a big deal." Also known as pluralistic ignorance, or when someone thinks everyone else accepts a norm and goes along with it.
  • "I'm afraid of what will happen to me if I do anything." Also known as fear of retaliation, or being afraid of negative consequences for intervening.
  • "I'll be embarrassed if I do anything." Also known as fear of embarrassment, or showing concern for bringing negative attention to oneself or others.

Motivations to Intervene

  • "I know it's wrong and others are probably thinking the same thing."
  • "I care about the person being impacted."
  • "I'm afraid of what will happen if I don't do anything."
  • "I'll feel better knowing I did something."
  • "I would want someone to help me if I was in that situation."
  • "I have friends here who can back me up."

Step 3: Take Action
Direct Action: An overt or active approach to intervening that requires direct articulation or expression of concern with the situation

  • Ask questions/get clarity.
  • Create a distraction.
  • Talk/address directly.

Indirect Action: Also known as a "detour'' approach involving less visible forms of intervening.


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UT Tyler