Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Active Bystander Programme?

The Active Bystander Programme is a core element of UCL students’ induction that aims to empower them to recognise and challenge unacceptable behaviours on campus and beyond. Now in its ninth, over 40,000 students have taken part in the programme, and have helped UCL to develop a supportive, vibrant and inclusive community of students and staff.

How does the Active Bystander training work?

Active Bystander training is made up of two components: 

1. An online module 

• The first part of this training will teach students what constitutes unacceptable behaviours such as bullying, harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct

• Next, students will learn several ways in which they can intervene safely if they spot any of these behaviours

• This training is accessible via the students’ union ucl website and should be completed by students before attending a live workshop.

2. A live workshop, in-person (recommended) or online 

• Students will then attend a live in-person workshop that will explore the topics covered in the online module in greater depth with two trained workshop facilitators

• In large groups, students will discuss scenarios, safe methods of intervention, and how they can report and best challenge unacceptable behaviour when they witness it

• The workshops provide a space for a more in-depth discussion of complex and nuanced topics

Together, these elements seek to empower UCL students and enable them to recognise and challenge unacceptable behaviours both on and off campus.

Who is the programme for?

The programme is for all UCL students. 

New students

• All students that are new to UCL should complete both the online training module and attend a live in-person workshop as part of their programme induction

Returning students

• Returning students should all complete the online training module

• Departments should decide whether they would like their returning students to attend a live workshop, it is highly encouraged that both new and returning students attend the live workshop as it complements the online training module and has been updated since previous years.

Is the training mandatory for new UCL students?

 As emphasised by UCL, students are expected to complete the Active Bystander Programme as a core part of their induction.

Why is the Active Bystander team working with departments?

UCL and Students’ Union UCL have joined forced on the active bystander programme to ensure as many students as possible complete this core programme. By working alongside individual academic departments, the programme will reach a greater number of students, helping the UCL community better tackle unacceptable behaviours.

In addition, as academic departments promote the programme to their students, they are highlighting their commitment to the values of the active bystander programme. They are also ensuring that their students understand what constitutes as acceptable and unacceptable behaviour both in themselves as well as in other people.

Departments who run the programme help to increase the sense of belonging and community amongst their students. Departments are also students' main point of contact whilst studying at UCL. Not all students are involved in clubs/societies/the SU, so promoting the programme with departments means that all students should know about the Active Bystander programme.

Ultimately, as the active bystander programme is promoted by students’ union UCL, University College London, as well as each individual academic department, the university will become a safer and more inclusive space for all students and staff.

What do departments need to do?

Departments have two key responsibilities in the programme:

• To choose and book dates/times for the live workshops.

• To advertise the programme to students via a pre-written email and inclusion in the induction week schedules

To choose dates/times for the live in-person workshops

• Please use this booking form to choose times/dates for your departmental live in-person workshops

• We will be running workshops Monday to Friday from 9:30AM to 5:30 PM. We are offering both in-person and online sessions, with a capacity of 40 students for in-person workshops and 50 students for online workshops, so please book as many sessions as you need for your students. We encourage in-person bookings. Each session lasting 90 minutes including 15 minutes for students to ask questions and fill in the feedback form, which we also use to monitor attendance.

• Where possible, we recommend embedding the workshop into students' timetables instead of booking a workshop and them signing up to it. We have found that the former increases attendance at the workshops and supports the message of the values and sense of community within your department.

• We are happy to run in-person workshops on the UCL East campus, but we ask that departments book rooms for these sessions and include the room name and location in this form. For workshops on the Bloomsbury campus, we will be in touch with you after you make your booking to let you know where the session will take place.

• After you have booked your slots, you will receive a confirmation email from the active bystander team that confirms your times/dates. You will receive a follow up email to confirm which room your session will take place in by September

To advertise the programme to students via a pre-written email and in their induction week schedules

• In the Departmental Guide, we have an email template for departments to use when advertising the programme. We are also creating marketing materials including posters, for departments to print and use. Please contact [email protected] for the guide.

When do the workshops take place?

The live workshops will run throughout Term 1, with a limited number running in Term 2 and 3. Our workshop does not have to only take place in induction week for students to complete it. It can be booked at any time throughout Term 1.

A student cannot attend one of the sessions we have booked for the department, what should they do?

We frequently organise general workshops throughout the year. These can be found on the Student Union's What's On Calendar. Students should book a space on these sessions to complete their training. These sessions will be uploaded as and when our team have availability to run them.

A student says that they have already attended a live workshop through a club/society/job, do they still need to attend their departmental live workshop?

• Nope! Students only need to attend a live workshop once.

• We are able to check through our records if students have completed the training. If you would like to check with us, please contact [email protected]

Why are the workshops in-person, not on Zoom?

• As the UCL community slowly transitions back into in person teaching, the active bystander programme is also moving back on campus

• We believe that working with students in-person facilitates greater engagement with the course and allows for greater discussion during training

Will i be told which students have completed the training?

You can request a list of students that have completed the training by emailing [email protected]

Cancellation and No-Show Fee

Please note that starting this year, there will be a £75 fee for workshops cancelled with less than 72 hours notice, and for “No-Show” workshops where four or fewer students attend. Please see below for the Terms and Conditions.

We understand this may come as a surprise but we want to ensure that as many students as possible have access to our programme, and to become Active Bystanders. We are committed to support departments in promoting the programme and encouraging their students to complete the training.

Our rationale for introducing fees:

• Our workshops are designed to be group-discussion led and this number of attendees is not suitable for running a workshop so our Workshop Leader’s have to cancel the session.

• For each cancelled session our student training facilitators need to be paid for their scheduled shift, and a significant amount of administrative work goes into preparing and organising these workshops.

• When workshops are cancelled or there are no-shows, it puts pressure on the limited budget we receive to run this programme for students at UCL. We want to ensure as many students as possible are trained.

• We have found that workshops that have been embedded into students’ timetables have a higher attendance rate than workshops in which the department asks them to sign up to a workshop.

Terms and Conditions:

• We reserve the right to mark and cancel a workshop as a “No-Show” if 4 or fewer students attend.

• You will be notified within 10 working days of a “No-Show” and an invoice will be sent to the named contact who booked the workshop/s.

• The standard No-Show fee is £75.

• The standard cancellation notification period is three working days prior to the event.

• The standard cancellation administration fee is £75.

• Unless otherwise stated, a charge will not be incurred for any cancellation received prior to the notification period i.e. more than three working days before the event.

• We reserve the right to cancel a course, giving 24 hours’ notice where possible, if events arise which make the delivery of the course impractical. We will endeavour to offer an alternative event or make alternative arrangements.

• Where a course is cancelled or re-scheduled by us, we will notify you using the contact details you provided to us at the time of booking.

• It is your responsibility to inform us of any change to the contact details you provide to us at the time of booking. We reserve the right to cancel workshop bookings without notice and without any liability whatsoever.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us at [email protected].

My question was not answered.

If you have any questions about the programme that have not been covered on our webpage or in the FAQs, please contact us at [email protected]. You can also see the contact details of our team on our Contact Us page.