Skip navigation

Student Life

Health & Counseling Center

hcc ritchie center

Be a B.O.S.S.

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

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. 

**Thank you to Missoula's Intervention in Action Project for the original poster campaign concept.


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.









Alejandro Garcia Fernandez is a third year at the University of Denver studying Hospitality Management, Communication Studies, and Psychology. Last year, he was on senate as the senator for the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management and this year he is one of the two On-Campus senators for Undergraduate Student Government. For the past two years, he has served as the Chair of the Diversity Committee, which consists of about 40 undergraduate students working to build a more inclusive campus climate. Last year, Alejandro had the honor of being the recipient of the undergraduate Champion of Change award at the Diversity Summit. Outside of senate, Alejandro is involved in several other groups in which Inclusive Excellence is critically engaged: the Queer Student Alliance, Latino Student Alliance, The Spark: An Impetus for Inclusivity, and he is the Desk Manager of Nagel Hall among other activities. Most recently, Alejandro is serving as a member of the university's strategic planning task force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusive Excellence. He wants to one day be a professor and an administrator at a university in hopes of working for the values of inclusivity and celebrating diversity. Alejandro believes that supporting survivors of gender violence is important because being an ally is one of the most powerful actions one can take. We must support one another and bring awareness to the issue in order to bring about social justice. Gender inequality exists and, as a community, we must take action to bring it to an end and to make a change. Survivors of gender violence need to know that people--people from many different backgrounds and with a wide array of social identities--are here to help and to provide endless support.



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. 





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.

Want to learn more? Request a workshop:

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.

Contact the CAPE Program Director: Dr. Gillian Kaag at