KSA to Hold Campaign on Consent for KPU Students

Content warning: This article discusses sexual assault

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The Kwantlen Student Association says it’s time to have a conversation about consent with students.

While they are still in the very early stages of planning, the KSA is making plans for a consent campaign to coincide with Welcome Week in the spring of 2017. The campaign will focus on educating students on sexual assault.

Natasha Lopes, the KSA’s vice-president student life and women’s representative, says that the idea for the campaign came from talking to students about their experiences on campus and the prevalence of issues relating to rape culture.

“We need to do something about it. I knew that this needed to come from the student association level because we had the direct contact with students,” says Lopes.

The KSA will be partnering with the Student Life Committee and Women Organizing Opportunities for Women for the consent campaign. Along with forums and videos, the KSA and WOOW will be bringing back open mic poetry event Slamming the Binary to compliment the consent campaign.

Lopes hopes that the campaign will help promote peer support among KPU students.

“It will be an educational campaign. It’s not just women that it hurts, it’s men, LGBTQ folks, indigenous folks. There are so many different people that are are a part of consent culture or are affected by rape culture. It has to come from a place of education,” Lopes says.

The consent campaign will also promote on-campus safety.

“Last year, we had two situations where two young women on the Richmond campus did not feel safe on campus. That isn’t what’s supposed to happen. You’re supposed to feel safe in an institution of learning. We want to make it safe. It’s part of our goals and objectives,” says Lopes.

In May of 2016, the B.C. legislature passed the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Act, which will require all universities in the province to implement sexual assault policies on campus within the next year. Lopes hopes that these new policies will help facilitate a conversation between students as well as cultivate a safer environment at KPU.

“I hope that it starts to change,” says Lopes. “It’s very hard to change campus culture and it’s very hard to change student life on campus. But by having all of these different conversations and having so many different activities, I am hoping that it will start to remind students that you have to think twice.”

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