The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint – College’s campaign fails to treat consent seriously

By Dylan Leverett/ reporter

Earlier this month, the University of California-Santa Cruz unveiled its “Consent is Sexy” sexual assault awareness campaign, which is intended to deter sexual assault on the campus. However, it has become a point of dissonance for students.

UCSC is one of the many California institutions of higher education that must adhere to California’s Senate Bill 967, or the Affirmative Consent Law, which requires schools to uphold an education and understanding of affirmative consent, or “an affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.” The bill was implemented to combat the growing epidemic of campus sexual assaults by creating an unambiguous meaning of consent.

The “Consent is Sexy” campaign is a collaboration of the college’s Title IX office and a UCSC communications and marketing team.

“The biggest impact of the campaign we are hoping for is to get people talking about consent,” UCSC Title IX director Tracey Tsugawa wrote in an email to UCSC’s student newspaper, City on a Hill Press. “That is perhaps the most important aspect of this campaign — talking about consent.”

The seemingly well-meaning campaign did succeed in getting people talking about the campaign’s lackluster approach.

City on a Hill Press reporter Dieter Holger has negatively described the campaign’s reckless nature.

“Consent is a mandatory thing, and I think it’s important to raise awareness about consent, but not necessarily in the context of it’s sexy or trendy, but rather the serious nature of the fact … consent is mandatory,” Holger wrote.

Slogans from the campaign include comparing consent to “knocking before entering” as if it’s just good manners. The campaign comes off as creepy and almost predatory in nature, like the act of asking for consent or respecting someone’s right to say “no” will ultimately lead to sex in the future. Because if you haven’t heard, “consent is sexy,” bro.

The campaign fails because of its simplistic and frighteningly ridiculous approach to a serious issue that insults the intelligence of the UCSC student body and belittles the struggles of sexual assault survivors.

A City on a Hill Press editorial spoke about the cavalier nature of the campaign versus the reality of sexual consent.

“Consent isn’t always going to be sexy or attractive,” the editorial said. “What if it isn’t sexy? What if asking the question feels uncomfortable or awkward, as if you’re going too far? People need to know feeling nervous is OK and you don’t have to be ‘sexy’ to say no. To imply that asking for consent should be a turn-on is misguided.”

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