Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sexual Consent Classes on Freshers' Timetable

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sexual Consent Classes on Freshers' Timetable

Article excerpt

Byline: Charles White Reporter @charleswhite3

FRESHERS at Newcastle and Durham University are set to be given sexual consent classes.

Last year Durham made it compulsory for first years to take the classes and this year Newcastle will encourage them to as well.

Saffron Kershaw-Mee, marginalised genders officer at Newcastle University, said: "These classes are needed due to today's culture where consent is trivialised, simplified and not listened to.

"It's not just about 'yes' or 'no', it's about communication and respect in the heat of the moment.

"People have claimed that these classes are patronising and useless - but the rape culture and fetishisation of violence heavily present in society says otherwise. These classes will be a chance for individuals to attempt to unlearn these destructive patterns deeply rooted in society, and to communicate with others and learn to ask."

This year York saw some students storm out of a consent class, claiming it was "patronising". Not all universities in our region are offering consent classes. Both Northumbria and Sunderland will not offer these classes to incoming students.

But both took a tough line on sexual violence. A Northumbria University spokesperson said: "The university has a zero tolerance approach to harassment as part of a range of measures aimed to deliver a safe inclusive campus for all, in line with the expected behaviours of both students and staff.

"These include working with all students, with sports teams and within particular professional courses to give advice on issues surrounding consent, in addition to which specific talks are given by Police Support Liaison Officers to all students living at our university accommodation."

A University of Sunderland spokesperson said: "Our priority with any student who contacts the student well-being team is to offer personalised support. …

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