University honors Benoit
The new granite bench on the Administration Building’s east lawn isn’t just for sitting — it’s a memorial to honor University of Idaho graduate student Katy Benoit.
Benoit was shot and killed by former UI assistant professor Ernesto A. Bustamante on August 22, 2011.
A dedication ceremony for the permanent memorial will take place at noon today — the eve of the first anniversary of her death — on the Administration lawn.
UI Dean of Students Bruce Pitman said the university worked closely with the Benoit family to determine the design and location of the memorial.
The bench is engraved with the words, “In memory of Katy’s journey, her care for others, her willingness to speak up, and her courage to make a difference.”
In addition, a Katy Benoit Safety Forum will mark the start of the university’s weeklong “I’ve Got Your Back” campaign on Sept. 19 in the Student Union Building ballroom.
Pitman said the program is focused on reducing bystander behavior.
“It will motivate students to identify risks that their friends may be incurring … and encourage students to intervene on behalf of their friends,” Pitman said. “It’s Vandals taking care of Vandals.”
The forum will include one primary speaker, Tyson Wooters, with a presentation titled “Always wear your head.”
“He has his own hook into that title,” Pitman said. “Tyson used to be the duck mascot for the University of Oregon.”
Pitman said Wooters was chosen over other speakers due to the high-energy and compelling nature of his presentation on bystander behavior.
Other programs throughout the week will include
living group workshops, titled “Step Up Bystander Intervention,” a self defense workshop at the Student Recreation Center, a program on healthy relationships presented by Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse and an alcohol education program.
The annual Take Back the Night and speak out program Sept. 27 will conclude the weeklong series of events.
Pitman said the university is putting an added emphasis into its campus safety programs this fall, but he’s pleased with the “I’ve Got Your Back” theme because it can be applied to a number of topics, ranging from alcohol education to helping students with mental health issues.
“The theme of intervening on behalf of your friend is fairly universal,” Pitman said. “And we will continue to use it as a focus on programming throughout the year.”
Britt Kiser can be reached at email@example.com