DCU Students’ Union Vice President for Welfare and Equality Aisling Fagan has said she doesn’t believe consent classes should be mandatory for students as it “defeats the purpose of consent.”
DCU SU have conducted a series of workshops to teach the meaning of consent through “an open and healthy discussion and conversation about consent”.
“I think mandatory in itself is the opposite to consent, I think making them mandatory also affects the workshops themselves,” said Fagan.
“I think in general, I think everyone should have to, well not have to because I don’t agree with them being mandatory. I think that people should have enough of an interest in general to attend,” she added.
Other institutions across the country are looking into mandatory courses on this topic or mandatory aspects of courses but as of now, this is not going to occur in DCU.
“It could be something down the line that maybe DCU will look at but I think for the minute, under my influence, I don’t think that they should be mandatory,” said Fagan.
However, a small number of students have risen questions over the effectiveness of these workshops and have questioned if they have any real impact on college students, despite the vast majority believing that these classes are benefiting most students.
Some asked if students who attended the workshops failed to obtain any knowledge, although the figures for turnout highly increased from those of last year.
When asked if she thought these workshops were effective, Fagan said that she truly believes that they have had a positive outcome.
“Yes, I do, we give evaluation forms to every student before and after the workshop and having looked at the feedback from last year and all the different feedback from other institutions and comparing them to the feedback we got this year I think they were really, really good,” said Fagan.
Although some complaints were brought forward, the majority believe that these workshops were needed in college life and are having an impact on student’s understanding of consent.
“I thought the workshops were extremely useful. I felt like I already had an understanding of consent but the class explained consent in more detail and gave many examples of where consent was or wasn’t present. It was fun and interactive which made it effective,” said first-year student Emily Clarke.
Although the figures for the workshops have increased in attendance and participation, some can’t understand how these are impacting students and the amount of time being put into these classes.
“I think there needs to be a lot more work put into the consent classes. Although there was a decent turnout, I think it could’ve been more effective. There should be more emotion put into it, for example, bringing in a rape victim willing to speak because the more personal it is and the more real it is the more likely it is to work, in my opinion,” a person involved with the workshops said.
Image credit: Alison Clair