As students return to campus, IT Carlow welcomes #UnmuteConsent campaign
Institute of Technology Carlow has welcomed the launch this morning of the nationwide #unmuteconsent campaign to drive a positive conversation on consent and to end sexual violence and harassment.
The campaign was launched by the higher education institutions, their representative bodies IUA and THEA, the Higher Education Authority, and Union of Students in Ireland (USI). It seeks to mobilise the student community to make a difference by speaking out, enhancing their own knowledge about consent and, ultimately, challenging and changing behaviours.
In a 2020 survey completed by 6,026 students from 14 Irish HEIs, 20% of female respondents think that verbally asking for sexual consent is awkward, compared to 34% of male respondents.
The #unmuteconsent campaign was informed by such findings from the USI and the Active Consent Sexual Experiences Survey (2020). This research is alongside significant work by the HEA, Higher Education Institutions, Union of Students in Ireland and other specialist bodies to research this area further and to inform students on the subject of consent.
Welcoming the campaign. Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Registrar at IT Carlow David Denieffe commented, “As we start to welcome our students back to campus, IT Carlow warmly welcomes the launch this morning of the #unmuteconsent campaign. It is acknowledged that sexual violence and harassment is a problem on higher education campuses and is under-reported. All higher education institutions, including IT Carlow, are currently implementing a wide range of measures within the National Consent Framework”.
“As students return to campus, consent will form part of their induction process in addition to the tools and supports this campaign seeks to highlight. IT Carlow is proud to play its part in this worthy campaign and encourages every student to talk about and practice consent and to challenge and report unacceptable behaviour”
#UnmuteConsent will roll out across all higher education institute campuses and the website www.unmuteconsent.ie will highlight the support, resources and training available in each university and institute of technology.
By engaging with the support and training available in every institution, the campaign seeks to encourage students in: speaking out/reporting unacceptable behaviour and accessing support; challenging perceived norms of unacceptable behaviour; talking about consent and relationships in a positive and confident way; practicing consent in their relationships and interactions.
Commenting on the launch of the #unmuteconsent campaign, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris TD said, “Since my appointment, I have worked with student representatives, staff representatives and our higher education institutions to ensure there is a zero tolerance approach to sexual violence and harassment.
“I am pleased that our students and management are working together to create a safe environment for all and to ensure that victims of sexual violence and harassment feel safe to come forward. We have to be leaders in this field. We have to change the culture on every single campus and we will.”
Joseph Ryan, CEO of the Technological Higher Education Association said: “THEA, together with the HEA, the IUA and USI recognise the role we can and must play in creating, fostering and supporting a positive culture of consent. Through this campaign, we want to kickstart the conversation about consent, to normalise it, and to encourage our campus communities to actively increase their knowledge about consent.”
More information on the campaign can be found at www.unmuteconsent.ie