Is bullying present on college campuses?

By Chelsea McLin

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Nelson/ The Vista

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Nelson/ The Vista

Since high school, we have left behind a lot of things we’ll probably never have to encounter again: back-to-back classes every day, rotten cafeteria food and physical education.

However, one thing we thought had been long forgotten makes a reappearance on many college campuses. This is bullying.

Bullying is usually associated with high school, junior high or elementary school. It’s seen as something so juvenile that there is no way an adult could engage in it.

But bullying has taken a new form that we overlook and just write-off as someone being mean.

Freshman Paine Harris agrees that bullying has appeared on campus in a new light.

“It’s a different kind of bullying.” Harris said. “It’s not the same childish bullying you might see where someone is excluded from a table or they’re treated badly because they look a certain way. It might be deeper. Someone might be mean to you because they’re having a bad day or because they might not like you for whatever reason. Bullying exists, but we just see it as someone being mean.”
The main reason people believe that bullying disappears after high school is that there is no exact word for it.

According to Fabianna Pergolizzi, CEO and President of Project Anti-Bully, the word “bully” itself is trivial and we don’t associate it with college students, but bullying is present our whole lives.
Pergolizzi says that bullying in college is actually worse because there is more competition in the college setting than there is in high school.

In college, the main focus is to graduate and get into a great career.

However, students have to beat out other students to stand out for these careers.

The less competition, the better, which means the smallest groups on campus are the easiest targets.

News writer for Nea Today, Cindy Long, reports, “Most bully victims are targeted for their differences, and high achieving minority students might be targeted for not conforming to social stereotypes.”

But can bullying really happen on the USD campus which aims for diversity and inclusion?

Freshman Vickell John-Baptiste believes that it can, but it’s in a way that’s overlooked by most.

“It’s not traditional,” John-Baptiste said. “Bullying takes the form of isolation. If you don’t look like the norm, then you will be ostracized. Especially at USD, there is a certain persona of the ‘cool crowd.’ People who haven’t been around other cultures don’t understand and think it is okay to joke with racist comments.”

We think bullying has been phased out because we think we have outgrown it, but that is not the case. Our differences act as barriers that allow people to stereotype others.

Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention says that 18.5 percent college undergraduate report being bullied once or twice.

Freshman Paola Coronado perceives bullying as a constant part of life.

“I have friends who have personally been bullied for being Mexican with crude comments,” Coronado said. “Bullying isn’t phased out because people are always trying to put down other people. I think it happens all around the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re 50 years old, 30 years old, or 20 or 18. The only way to phase out bullying is to make people understand that everyone is different. We’re all just humans.”

So should USD students worry that they might be bullied during their time in school?

It’s something we should all be aware of. Just because something isn’t as extreme as the bullying we once knew in high school doesn’t mean it’s not bullying.

It still has lasting effects on the victims who are unfortunate enough to encounter it.

Bullying is something we should open our eyes to.

USD has a handful of students who are of a variety of different ethnicities and races, so it is important that we become more culturally aware to connect students campus wide and maintain a healthy environment for all students.