Faculty and Consent is Mac

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You may have noticed a few of the librarians sporting Consent is Mac t-shirts yesterday and wondered why Macalester staff members were wearing the t-shirts that represent a student-led sexual consent campaign. To answer your question, after presenting at a Continued Conversations event, one of the librarians shared their strong connection to the campaign, and asked if it would be possible to distribute consent shirts to the librarians.

We, the student staff of the Health and Wellness Center, grappled with the request, and wondered if this visual expansion of the Consent is Mac campaign to Macalester faculty and staff members would usurp the power and identity of the student-led consent campaign that was created exclusively for students. However, we’ve reached the conclusion that giving Consent is Mac shirts to the librarians, and having them wear the shirts on the day that we have encouraged all students to wear their shirts, would be a powerful symbol of solidarity.

Furthermore, the Macalester librarians signed the pledge before receiving the consent t-shirts. Asking the librarians to sign the consent pledge reminds us that consent is a life-long and universal issue that is further complicated as people enter into long-term relationships and marriages. Maneuvering the nuances of consent in sexual relationships doesn’t become any less complicated with age, and the core tenets of affirmative consent (clear, continuous, enthusiastic, and based on equal positions of power) do not change.

While it is important to promote solidarity between students and staff, we also need to remember how the recent exposure of widespread cover-ups of sexual assault cases at American universities have proven that an institution’s desire to preserve its reputation sometimes trumps its quest for justice for its students. The exposure of these administrative cover-ups at numerous universities across the country has prompted an outcry for transparency and accountability from students and parents. Therefore, we are promoting the expansion of the campaign to include faculty and staff, while also seeking to retain the integrity of a student-led campaign that prioritizes the well-being of students before the reputation of the institution.

Fostering an inclusive campaign that promotes egalitarian education and solidarity throughout the community will hopefully continue to ingrain consent culture into Macalester’s identity, and will avoid some of the tragic divides between administrators and students that we have witnessed at other colleges regarding the treatment of sexual assault cases.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns surrounding this issue or about consent in any capacity, please email us at [email protected] or comment on our tumblr at consentismac.tumblr.com. As always, we are always excited to start challenging and rewarding conversations, so please feel free to reach out at any time.