Education

Cal Poly launches national center to prevent student deaths

Cal Poly has launched a new center aimed at preventing student deaths on campus.
Cal Poly has launched a new center aimed at preventing student deaths on campus. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Cal Poly on Friday announced a new research and resource center aimed at “preventing harm and lives lost to hazing, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual assault, hate and bias and other forms of violence on college campuses.

The center, called “With Us: The National Network for Peer Accountability” consists of “a team of experienced researchers and student affairs practitioners who are developing a national network of education and prevention partners to create safer campus communities. The center will support students and educators in prevention efforts by developing and sharing bystander intervention research, resources and education,” according to a Cal Poly statement.

The center grew out of Aware Awake Alive, a nonprofit organization aimed at preventing alcohol poisoning that was founded by Scott and Julia Starkey, whose son Carson Starkey died as a result of alcohol-related hazing at a Cal Poly fraternity in 2008.

Starkey’s death drew heightened scrutiny to fraternity culture and prompted Sigma Alpha Epsilon, the fraternity Carson Starkey was attempting to join, to ban pledging for five years.

Cal Poly said that “With Us is building its national network of education and prevention partners who are interested in joining these areas:

▪  Research: Lead and share new innovative research and program evaluations.

▪  Resources: Develop and share evidence-based bystander intervention strategies, tools and resources to support campus prevention efforts.

▪  Education: Provide training and education for students and educators to shift attitudes, develop skills and improve bystander behaviors.”

Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7934, @andrewsheeler

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