Let's Get Grounded
The Let's Get Grounded student-run initiative purposes to combat the social norm of bystander behavior—that is, to encourage and empower students, faculty and staff to recognize, react and respect at the University of Virginia.
As students of the University, it is our responsibility to remain active and vocal participants in our community. It has come to our attention that certain social norms currently threaten the University's tradition of student self-governance. This norm has been labeled as the "bystander effect," but it gets at the heart of a much greater issue of student apathy and lack of ownership within our community. This "bystander effect" results in the acceptance of disrespectful behavior among peers, including but not limited to acts of bias, derogatory comments, drug and alcohol abuse and violence. These socially ignored acts have amounted to a weakened University community and have also resulted in a variety of large and small tragedies in our day-to-day-lives.
We realize that many incidents that have gained press coverage at U.Va. in recent years have been the result of a culmination of different behaviors. While these behaviors and outcomes have occurred in unique circumstances, we recognize that many of these behaviors are the results of misunderstandings and disrespectful norms that cross the line into action. Such misunderstandings include misconceptions of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, economic status and sexual orientation. While we are committed to a place of individual thought and practice, we are also committed to fostering a place of mutual respect and safety. We anticipate that we will not be able to change everyone's views or opinions; however, we are committed to the mission of defining appropriate social behavior in our community. We believe it is not only possible but imperative that students and others take a stand against the behaviors that threaten our community, while taking action to foster a more respectful place for each student, faculty or staff member.