By Joy Wolinski, Staff Writer–
Stephanie Rowland, Title IX coordinator, has initiated a campaign which gives out free t-shirts in order to spread awareness about consent. The t-shirts are blue and gold and list the words obtained, affirmative, voluntary, and continual. The back of the shirt features the definition of “consent.”
Rowland crafted the idea in collaboration with other colleagues in an attempt to get students energized and excited to learn about the elements of consent and sexual violence prevention.
“The goal is to have students thinking about [consent], looking around, seeing the posters, making the connections, and having more of an understanding or a conversation about consent,” Rowland said.
In 2018, Rowland gave away roughly 900 shirts and this semester anticipates over 3000 consent t-shirts will be given away. Students and faculty will also have a chance to win prizes relating to the awareness initiative on Monday, Sept. 23 and Sept. 30. This will all take place inside the University Center.
“We know that the students like to have t-shirts that have some meaning on them,” Rowland said. “[T-shirts with] some sort of ‘important to society’ statement on them, and [so] we thought: why not consent?”
Rowland asks students to wear these shirts on “T-shirt Tuesdays” in hopes that more people will notice the shirts. Each Tuesday of the semester is one such day. She hopes the students will see the shirts on other peers and begin to notice the posters around campus.
“The shirts connect with the reporting posters and the policy posters that are all around campus,” Rowland said.
Because of Rowland’s desire the students to become more aware of the elements of consent, this won’t be the last year in which students have an opportunity to receive a shirt. She hopes the shirts will spark a conversation amongst classmates about the facets of true consent..
“[We] just want students to understand what consent is, because a lot of students don’t get a lot of sex education or conversation about consent before they get [to UTC],” Rowland said.
Anyone with questions or concerns surrounding issues of consent is encouraged to contact Stephanie Rowland, Office of Student Conduct, the Counseling Center, or the Survivor Advocacy Services and many other places on UTC campus who are available to respond to these inquiries.