University campaign promotes consent agenda to students

Students informed of the importance of dignity and respect through new campaign

Image: YUSU

Image: YUSU

The Dignity and Respect campaign, which ran throughout this years Fresher’s week, focused on raising awareness about sexual consent.
The University has pledged for all students to be made aware of what is classed as consent and what is not.
It is recognised globally that many university students are unaware of the definition of consent, and this has resulted in situations where individuals have been accused of sexual assault or have been a victim to it.
In response, the University created the Dignity and Respect Campaign, which aims to make students aware of the situations in which sexual assault may occur, emphasising the effect that drugs and alcohol can have on personal judgement.
It is recognised that being a victim of sexual assault can have a significant impact on students academically, professionally and personally.
It is important that students are made aware of the issue and places that they can go to for support, should they find themselves in the situation where they feel that they may have been a victim of sexual assault.
Fridge magnets have been placed in student kitchens across colleges to promote the key messages of the campaign, and college welfare staff also received consent training.
College STYCs were given information on consent as part of their pre-fresher’s week training and York’s students’ societies have also been briefed on the issue.
Many colleges also offered talks to Freshers to raise awareness of the campaign, although these were not made compulsory.
Koen Lamberts, Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Tim Stoneham, Dean of the Graduate Research School and Dr David Duncan, Registrar and Secretary of the University have all reinforced the message of the importance of consent in reference to Dignity and Respect in the Academic Community.
This follows the announcement of the launch of a government task force that focuses on preventing  occurrences of sexual harassment towards women and girls on university campuses.
In a survey reported on by Nouse in January, The National Union of Students found that two thirds of the 20,000 students surveyed had experienced jokes about rape or sexual assault at their university.
Since then, the University has been aiming to improve efforts to raise awareness of the issue.
Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, raised the issue in a statement saying: “I want people to feel comfortable that they know when they might be a victim of crime, or a suspect of a crime. We should all know where we stand.”
The campaign launched by the Crown Prosecution Service released an animation video comparing sexual consent to having a cup of tea.
The video says if you ask someone for a cup of tea and they say no that is okay, if they wanted tea before but do not want tea anymore that is okay too, and if someone is unconscious do not give them a cup of tea, even if they wanted one earlier.
The video aims to show that this is the same with sex; you should not pressure someone or force someone into having a cup of tea, just like you should not with sex.
Many other universities across the UK have tried to raise awareness of the issue to prevent abuse or accusations involving young people in the future.

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