The campaign hopes to create a “culture of consent” on campus
Megan Amato // Associate News Editor
The Capilano Students’ Union (CSU), in partnership with Capilano University, is launching a new Consent Campaign titled I Heart Consent. The campaign will replace the previous Let’s Gret Consensual campaign and aims to be more accessible to both students and faculty.
Emily Bridge, CSU President and VP Equity and Sustainability, is managing this campaign with AudreyWong, Community Well-Being Strategist out of the Capilano’s Student Affairs Office. Together they hope to create a campaign that can be tailored to different formats, allowing more flexibility in its delivery. In the new year, they hope to start slowly rolling out “taster workshops” that can be delivered during class times and focus on specific topics such as defining consent and sexual violence. Longer workshops will also be available to students and faculty which will be more in-depth and thematic.
The campaign will encourage folks to move past the simplified “no means no” messaging. “Consent is ongoing, renegotiated and complex,” said Bridge. “It’s about relationships more broadly and building healthy ones. It’s being conscious of the labour we’re asking of our friends when we rant or vent without asking them their permission. It’s about boundaries with ourselves and with others.”
The previous consent campaign, Let’s Get Consensual, was developed by the University of Victoria (UVic) and the Anti-Violence Project—a cooperative run out of UVic that aims to end gender-based violence in their community. The campaign was brought to CapU in 2017, and while Bridge says the content was well-developed and well-rounded, the two-hour time slot wasn’t working for CapU.
“It was difficult for us to go into classrooms and deliver a two-hour workshop because classes are either an hour and 20 minutes or three hours, and profs don’t want to give up that much time,” Bridge said, regarding the format of the session. “We wanted students to be able to get this important content but understood everyone can’t always come for a full two hours.”
The CSU started planning the I Heart Consent campaign this summer, working with the previous Community Well-being Specialist, Jody Armstrong. Bridge credits Armstrong for her work on the campaign last year, and her efforts to develop relevant workshops. The process of developing the campaign has continued through the fall semester, but Bridge says students should start seeing the new branding in the Spring.
In the CapU’s Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy—a policy that every institution is mandated to have—it defines consent as: “an active, direct, voluntary, and conscious choice and agreement between adults to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of the person initiating or pursuing sexual activity to obtain consent at all stages of sexual engagement. Consent is a freely given “yes”; cannot be assumed or based on a perception that it was implied; cannot be given by someone who is incapacitated (by drugs and/or alcohol), asleep, unconscious, or otherwise incapable of providing consent; can be revoked at any time, regardless of whatever other sexual activities have taken place; can never be obtained through threats, intimidation, coercion or other pressure tactics; cannot be obtained if someone abuses a position of trust, power or authority and cannot be assumed from previous consent.”
If you’ve been sexually assaulted on campus and aren’t sure who to report to, please reach out to Community Wellness Strategist Audrey Wong, or you can report the assault through their online form on the student life page of CapU’s website. You have a right to feel and be safe on and off-campus.