‘A Cup of Prevention’ emphasizes consent

December 12, 2016 | Features, UToday
By Meghan Cunningham

Students fueling up on caffeine during finals week at Starbucks in the Student Union and Java City in Rocket Hall will be encouraged to think about consent and a culture of respect to prevent sexual assault.

Through the “A Cup of Prevention” campaign led by the UT Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Program, stickers will be on 700 coffee sleeves throughout the week with the phrase “Consent is” followed by a blank line for patrons to write in what consent means to them.

Lindsay Tuttle, head of Sexual Assault Early Prevention Program (SAEPP), holds a Starbucks Coffee cup with a Coffee Sleeve that says "Consent is ..."

Lindsay Tuttle, head of Sexual Assault Early Prevention Program (SAEPP), holds a Starbucks Coffee cup with a Coffee Sleeve that says “Consent is …”

“We want to get students thinking and talking about consent and what it means to them. Writing in words such as ‘verbal’ or ‘consistent’ helps advance a culture of education and prevention against sexual assault,” said Lindsay Tuttle, sexual assault and substance abuse prevention education coordinator.

Students are encouraged to continue the conversation on social media using #UTConsentIs with a picture of their coffee cup and what consent means to them. The Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Program will continue the awareness effort when students return in January for the spring semester by providing “Consent is” wristbands to students and hanging posters across campus.

“It is important to reinforce that true consent is willing, clearly communicated, specific and not under the influence of alcohol and drugs,” Tuttle said. “This conversation on consent is part of our efforts to encourage a culture that is comfortable talking about sexual assault so that we can better prevent and address it.”

The “Consent is” campaign is one of a series of education initiatives undertaken during the academic year to educate students about sexual misconduct and the resources available to them on campus.

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Program, which is part of the Counseling Center in the Division of Student Affairs, conducts additional education programming throughout the year, including the Silent Witness Project and other events for Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) Day in September, and the Clothesline Project and Take Back the Night as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.

In addition, UT’s Title IX Office ensures compliance with federal law and works to raise awareness of sexual assault prevention. The Title IX Office investigates all reports of sexual misconduct, implements interim measures when necessary, and works to remedy the effects of sexual misconduct.

The University recently was recognized by the Ohio Department of Higher Education for its efforts to implement the Changing Campus Culture initiative, which is a statewide effort to end sexual assault on all campuses. UT is one of 35 of Ohio’s 88 participating college campuses to implement 100 percent of the recommendations in the first year of the initiative.

“We now have more trained professionals on campus, more engaged students and more data to guide our efforts. But your university has achieved far more, successfully completing all five of the recommendations put forth by the Changing Campus Culture Advisory Group,” Ohio Chancellor John Carey wrote in a letter to President Sharon L. Gaber.

“Work of this magnitude is not done in a silo. While you appointed one individual to lead in these efforts, I know that they worked with other members of your campus community to identify areas of focus, raise awareness, develop comprehensive prevention plans, review response protocols to ensure they are comprehensive, and identify survivor-centered strategies to increase reporting and support services,” the letter continued. “I am grateful for their willingness to support the efforts on your campus.”

For more information about the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Program, call 419.530.3431, visit the office in the Counseling Center located in Rocket Hall Room 1810, or go online to utoledo.edu/studentaffairs/saepp.

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