In order to teach incoming students about consent and healthy relationships, classes for First-Year Interest Group and Transfer-Year Interest Group mentors will include consent education starting this semester.
The consent education program is a joint effort between the First-Year Experience Office, Student Government and other campus groups such as the Title IX Office, BeVocal and the Counseling and Mental Health Center’s Voices Against Violence.
“We want to make sure that we’re sort of staying away from (the) ‘train the trainer’ definition of (consent education) because we also don’t expect that peer mentors can go through a two-hour education program and then be experts to train other people on it,” said Patty Moran Micks, director of the First-Year Experience Office. “But what we hope is that we will be able to work with these offices and our mentors to develop something that we could implement for all students, whether that be new types of promotional materials or new ways of talking about what do you do in these situations.”
Student Government leaders approached Micks and Brent Iverson, dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies, over the summer about consent education. Student Body President Colton Becker said the idea stemmed from a model used by Not On My Campus, a sexual assault prevention group in which leaders from campus organizations attend workshops and then teach their peers what they learn. Sexual assault prevention was also one of Becker’s campaign platform points last year.
“When we were brainstorming … what does the community need in terms of sexual assault prevention, what can we do better as a school, we thought about bringing this peer education model to as many students as possible,” Becker said. “We thought, ‘Well, freshman are … traditionally the most vulnerable group on campus,’ and … we decided to do the FIGs and TrIGs because there was already infrastructure in place there.”
Currently, FIG and TrIG mentors attend a weekly class where they learn how to effectively lead their group of students. Micks said Theatre for Dialogue, a Voices Against Violence program, will hold a performance about consent in the March mentor classes. Then, experts from various offices involved in consent education will speak with the mentors.
“I definitely wish that I’d gotten a chance to have it included in my training when I was a FIG mentor, but I think the most important takeaway from its addition is the fact that it will have a positive impact on the experiences and hopefully the mentality of both FIG mentors and figlets,” said Sadika Eslaminejad, a fall 2018 FIG mentor and health promotion major.
Although the groups behind the initiative are still developing the curriculum for this fall’s incoming students, Micks said the consent education is partly based on “Get Sexy. Get Consent,” a one-hour Voices Against Violence program on consent, boundaries and safety.
“Mentors are getting trained this semester and will be equipped with (the) information and resources they need to facilitate discussions about consent beginning in fall 2019,” Becker said in a text. “Our priority right now is to ensure they feel comfortable and confident executing this task.”