MCSG Overseer: Consent is Mac town hall planned for November

Margaret Moran

This week’s MCSG meeting featured a presentation by the Health Promotion student staff members Hallie Kircher-Henning ’19, KP Blake-Leibowitz ’19 and Malia Becker ’20 about the Consent is Mac Town Hall event planned for November 1.

“What we want to do is create a community space where folks feel like they can come and express concerns and ideas for future [Consent is Mac] programming so students take more ownership over the initiative on campus,” Kircher-Henning said.

The Health Promotion student staff came up with the idea to hold a town hall in the spring after administering an 800-person random sample survey to gauge students’ sentiments about Consent is Mac programming.

The survey had a better than 50 percent response rate, with a number of students expressing ideas for how to improve the program. Next month, they’ll get a chance to share those ideas in person.

“We hope to ask people questions like, ‘What does signing the [Consent is Mac] pledge mean to you?’ or, ‘How can the pledge-signing process better hold students accountable for preventing sexual violence?’” Kircher-Henning said.

The presentation prompted questions from the Legislative Body.

“How are you going to structure the Town Hall meeting so that it’s more of a dialogue?” Community Engagement Officer Fatiya Kedir ’21 asked.

The staff was ready with an answer.

The current plan is to begin the event with an introduction before students break into small groups for more intimate discussions.

The staff is also considering an activity in which each participant would get a half-sheet of paper with the Consent is Mac pledge to markup with comments on language that should be retained or changed. Academic Affairs Committee member Matthew Glover ’22 asked how the campaign plans to reach students apathetic about the pledge.

Currently, the Health Promotion student staff is deliberating on how to bring students who have in the past shown little interest in the Consent is Mac initiative to the town hall – while at the same time recognizing that different people on campus have different stakes in the work.

“In some ways, the people who have been the most affected by sexual violence on this campus deserve to be the main voices in rewriting this pledge – not that other people don’t have a valid stake in Consent is Mac programming,” Blake-Leibowitz said.

“[But] in this space,” they continued, “we can also brainstorm ideas about next steps to reach people who maybe don’t care about the pledge or who sign it without thinking about it.”

The Health Promotion student staff plans to work with a subcommittee of MCSG members to collaborate on planning both the logistics of and content for the town hall. They also plan to reach out to identity collectives, athletic teams and student organizations to gather thoughts on and ideas for the event.