Active Bystanders: Mediation at MIT

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Assessing Situations
Responding to
Active Bystander Strategies
Resources on Campus
Advice Column
Success Stories
Interactive Scenarios
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Looking Out for One Another

Everyone is a bystander

A man tells a sexist joke to a group of acquaintances, and one woman in the group winces. Does anyone else say anything?

A supervisor chews out her employee in a public place, humiliating him in front of co-workers. Does anyone offer support?

Two people are arguing more and more loudly about the last space in the parking lot. Does anyone try to prevent a fist fight?

Incidents like these take place at MIT daily. Everyone has felt or observed a bystander’s reluctance to act in a sticky situation. But what a bystander does may matter a great deal… Learn more


Lowering the barriers to appropriate bystander action, through awareness, preparation and practice, is the goal of Mediation@MIT’s Active Bystander Program.

Often you, as a bystander, will face some difficult choices. There are usually more options than you think... and no single "right" response.

We hope the tools on this web site will help you assess bystander situations you find yourself in and evaluate your options for responding. See Assessing Bystander Situations for more info, and check out our list of Active Bystander Strategies.

Need more help? Consider consulting the people and offices listed in Resources on Campus.

Our advice columnist suggests speaking up when a fan at an athletic event goes too far.
Read Advice Column
Send in Your Question
What would you do...?
… if a roommate dispute over dishes gets out of hand?
Try our Interactive Scenarios
A young couple at a nearby table started arguing very loudly...
Read Story
Send in Your Story
This site is offered by Mediation@MIT, a program offering peer mediation services and conflict management training to the MIT community. Mediation@MIT's Active Bystanders Program is sponsored by the Dean for Student Life, the Campus Committee on Race Relations, and the Graduate Student Office, supported by your student life fee.
Campus Committee on Race Relations

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