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Be a B.O.S.S.


What does it mean to "Be a B.O.S.S." at du?

At DU, to be a B.O.S.S. means to be a leader on campus and to be willing to speak up and act in order to prevent violence from happening.

To be a DU B.O.S.S. is to:

Be aware,
Observe your situation,
Size up your options,
Speak up and act.

In order to be effective as a DU B.O.S.S., you must first notice an incident as needing intervention. A B.O.S.S. then assesses the situation to determine if the situation is an emergency. If the incident is interpreted as an emergency, meaning that the B.O.S.S.'s inaction could lead to negative consequences, a B.O.S.S. then assumes responsibility to do something to help. Intervention can come in a variety of forms, but the bottom line is that a B.O.S.S. makes an attempt to help.

All members of our community can be leaders when it comes to supporting survivors of gender violence. Check out how these student leaders believe, support, and listen to their friends. 

How can I get trained as a du "B.O.S.S."?

Be a "B.O.S.S.": How to Harness Your Power to Prevent Violence

This workshop focuses on the issue of leadership on DU's campus and teaches practical bystander intervention skills for students to use in order to prevent violence from happening in our community. To "Be a B.O.S.S." individuals must: 1) Be aware, 2) Observe the situation, 3) Size up their options, and 4) Speak up and act. This interactive training provides participants with the tools to know when and how to "Be a B.O.S.S." and helps participants gain the confidence to take action when it is needed, particularly around the issue of preventing sexual violence.

To request a training, please contact the CAPE Director at


Leslie and HaydenLeslie Rossman is a doctoral candidate in rhetoric and communication ethics. She received an MA in political studies at the University of Illinois, Springfield. Her research interests include rhetorical mediations of labor and globalization, rhetoric and political economy, the effects of neoliberalism in the workplace, as well as gender and sexuality in popular culture. Leslie has been an active leader at the University of Denver through her roles in Graduate Student Government, Graduate Students of The Four Faculties and the Communication Studies Graduate Student Organization.As president of the Graduate Student Government, Leslie is committed to working with administration, faculty, staff and students in creating an environment where discussions surrounding education and prevention of sexual assault and gender violence are supported and encouraged. It is her belief that in order to change the culture of gender violence we must come together as a campus community and transform previously held ideas of sexual assault awareness through education, dialogue and survivor support.

Hayden Johnson  is currently serving as the Undergraduate Student Body president for the 2014-2015 academic year and was a co-creator of SCESA, the Student Coalition to Eradicate Sexual Assault. He is a senior this year, majoring in socio-legal studies and history. Hayden sees issues of gender and relationship violence as one of the most important issues facing DU, and strongly believes that the Pioneer community can promote a zero-tolerance environment for sexual misconduct and gender-related offenses. Supporting survivors of gender violence is important because it is a major step toward creating a student body that actively stands up for their peers, and promotes a campus culture of advocacy and respect. Hayden strongly believes that education is a key part of helping the community build and grow in a positive way around this issue, and show that while only some are perpetuating the problem, everyone must be part of the solution.


Kiki Kiki Boone is a senior at the University of Denver, majoring in Spanish and Integrated Sciences. She is a captain of the lacrosse team and leads Younglife at Cherry Creek High School. Kiki believes it is important to support survivors of gender violence to promote equality and to help heal the emotional and physical injuries inflicted upon the victims.










Morgan Thomas  is a senior at the University Denver, majoring in International Business with minors in both Political Sciences and Legal Studies. She currently serves as the Panhellenic President, is a member of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and is a member of the Idiosingcrasies. Morgan believes that it is crucial to support survivors of gender violence because no one can ever have too many friends or shoulders to lean on when times get tough. Gender violence is gaining increasing attention on DU’s campus and Morgan believes that we need to work together as a community to create more awareness and prevent gender violence from happening in our community.   




nathan Nathan Duval  is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences. Nathan studies the molecular genetics and metabolic changes associated with a variety of human disorders and conditions, primarily those related to aging and age-related disease. While at the University of Denver, Nathan has been the first author or co-author on six publications with more on the horizon. Nathan hopes to one day run a research lab devoted to understanding the biochemical, genetic, and metabolic changes associated with human disease that may lead to more effective therapeutics. In addition to his studies, Nathan has devoted a lot of time to promoting graduate students and graduate scholarship across campus as President of the Graduate Students of the Four Faculties and a member of Graduate Student Government. GSFF, the largest graduate student association on campus, has provided tens-of-thousands of dollars to hundreds of students to aid in conference travel to promote graduate student research and DU. Nathan believes that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their gender, race, or sexual orientation. Supporting survivors begins with listening and believing without judgment. Nathan believes that empowering and supporting survivors helps create a culture that respects the differences in people and changes the way we think, respond, and talk about abuse.

jesse  Jesse Spivey is a second year student majoring in both philosophy and chemistry.  Although Jesse is interested in a number of academic areas, his primary interest is in studying the way in which ethics shape our search for new frontiers. Moral objective truth is what he is really looking for.  Jesse believes that all individuals, regardless of how they identify, have a right to their physical safety, mental wellbeing, and equitable social status, which is why he combats gender violence, and why he is proud to “Be a B.O.S.S.”  This sentiment has guided his academic career and inspired how he approaches his position as a Resident Assistant in Centennial Halls.  Jesse is an advocate for social justice and believes that even if we all come from different world views, we can envision a similar future in which we are all treated with the respect we deserve.  




roryRory Moore is a sophomore at the University of Denver, pursuing a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience. His overarching goal is to be able to attend medical school and then pursue a residency program in Neurology in order to become a Neurologist or Neurosurgeon. Currently, Rory serves as the DU Black Student Alliance President, the Diversity Summit Vice President and member of the Undergraduate Student Government Diversity Committee, a Student Paraprofessional of the Affinity Group at the Center for Multicultural Excellence at DU, a Joint Council Member, a DU Pre-Health Society Club Member, a Daniels Fund Scholarship Mentor, and a Pioneer Leadership Program Mentor. 

Rory finds it crucial to support survivors of gender violence because survivors have triumphed in protecting themselves and need friends who can be there, and available to talk, when it matters most. Rory believes that it is important to speak out against gender violence and to have awareness of the issues because everyone can take leadership when it comes to prevention.


Tips for Intervening like a B.O.S.S.

  • Approach everyone as a friend
  • Do not be antagonistic
  • Avoid using violence
  • Be honest and direct whenever possible
  • Evaluate the situation and people involved to determine your best move. You could directly intervene yourself, or alert friends of each person to come in and help. If the person reacts badly, try a different approach.
  • Step in and separate two people. Let them know your concerns and reasons for intervening. Be a friend and let them know you are acting in their best interest. Make sure each person makes it home safely
  • Use a distraction to redirect the focus somewhere else: "Hey, I need to talk to you." or "Hey, this party is lame. Let's go somewhere else." Recruit help if necessary
  • Recruit the help of friends of both people to step in as a group.
  • Divert the attention of one person away from the other person. Have someone standing by to redirect the other person's focus.
  • Commit a party foul (e.g. spilling your drink) if you need to.
  • Keep yourself safe

Please remember that any situation that threatens physical harm to yourself or another student should be assessed carefully. Contact Dept of Campus Safety or the police, if needed, to assist you in defusing the situation.

(Taken from Hobart and William Smith Colleges)

What prevents people from being a B.O.S.S.?

Being a B.O.S.S. takes courage and there are a number of factors that prevent individuals from doing something to help. These include:

  1. Failure to notice an event (e.g. At a party or bar, I am probably too busy to be aware of whether someone is at risk for sexual assault.)
  2. Failure to identify a situation as high-risk (e.g. In a party or bar situation, I find it hard to tell whether a guy is at risk for sexually assaulting someone).
  3. Failure to take intervention responsibility (e.g. Even if I thought someone was at risk for being sexually assaulted, I would probably leave it up to others to intervene).
  4. Failure due to skills deficit (e.g. Even if I thought it was my responsibility to intervene to prevent sexual assault, I am not sure I would know how to intervene).
  5. Failure due to audience inhibition (e.g. Even if I thought it was my responsibility to intervene to prevent a sexual assault, I might not out of a concern I would look foolish).

Taken from "A Situational Model of Sexual Assault Prevention through Bystander Intervention," (Burn, 2009)

Why try to help?

While there are a number of factors that prevent people from taking action to help, inaction potentially leads to one or both parties experiencing significant emotional and physical consequences, particularly around incidents of sexual and relationship violence. You have the ability to make a difference. Educate yourself and be willing to speak up and act.