Students at Sydney University have slammed the institution’s new mandatory sexual harassment course as ‘unrealistic’ and ineffective.
Under new rules, all pupils must achieve a perfect score on the online module that teaches what is and is not active consent.
‘It is the university’s way of saying, ‘we’ve done our part, we look good’, but it’s not actually going to fix anything,’ honours student Claudia Reed told the Daily Telegraph.
Students at Sydney University have slammed the new mandatory sexual harassment course
The new ‘Consent Matters’ course was originally developed at Oxford University by Epigeum
‘Consent Matters: Boundaries, Respect, And Positive Intervention’ uses stick figures to illustrate the importance of consent and the impact that drugs and alcohol have on consent.
But experts have called the module a ‘tick-the-box’ exercise ‘in response to recent sexual harassment scandals at the university without addressing the culture that caused them’ in the first place.
The course, originally developed at Oxford University by London-based company Epigeum, states that ‘everyone must have explicit permission from the person they intend to make contact with’ before going ahead.
‘This means that everyone is entirely comfortable with the situation and freely able to agree, give permission or say ‘yes’ to participating in a sexual activity (this includes kissing and touching),’ it reads.
‘If someone is not able to offer an enthusiastic ‘yes’ to questions about sexual activity you do not have consent.’
Medical Science student Eleni Vellios said asking explicitly for an ‘enthusiastic yes’ before kissing someone was silly and impractical: ‘It’s a bit unrealistic, no one is going to ask for them to spell it out and ask for it,’ she said.
The Consent Matters module is mandatory for all new students enrolling at Sydney University
Eleni Vellios said asking explicitly for an ‘enthusiastic yes’ before sharing a kiss was impractical
The mandatory online module uses stick figures to illustrate the importance of active consent
Ms Reed agreed: ‘As a normal person, this is so stupid. People who need to be taught what consent is and what it isn’t, the course is not going to help, it’s not going to change their mind.’
She added that the compulsory survey was a ‘tick-a-box exercise’ and that the university should be more focused on fixing the problems within its residential colleges.
A university spokesperson confirmed that students would be forced to keep attempting the course until they got every section correct.
‘The Consent Matters module is mandatory for all new students enrolling at the University of Sydney from 2018 onwards,’ she said.