Trust and consent is an important part of all relationships, romantic and platonic, and to Kimberly DeVries, it’s necessary to be educated on what exactly consent means.
“I think this topic is so important to discuss with college students,” said Kimberly DeVries, Director of Equal Opportunity Compliance. “College is a time where you’re meeting new people and exploring who you are, and that can bring up some of these questions about making sure that everyone involved is a willing and enthusiastic participant.”
An email was sent out last week to all of Grand Rapids Community College’s current students, titled “What is Consent?” and aims to educate students about consent, the policies regarding sexual misconduct, and all resources that are available. The email also included a video, which starred several GRCC students discussing what policies the college has put into place to keep the student body safe.
“The purpose of the video was to encourage the GRCC community to really think about consent,” DeVries said. “How you see it in your relationships, how you make sure you have and maintain consent, and why it’s so important.”
To DeVries, consent is about each individual having the right to decide to make decisions about their own bodies. She said it’s important to ask permission before having any form of contact, even for something as simple as a hug or a text. Even if someone consented to something before, it’s necessary to ask again, in case they’ve changed their mind.
“Consent is really at the core of our relationships with other people,” DeVries said. “I need to know that it’s okay for me to text you, or touch you, or kiss you. It’s not enough for me to assume you’re okay with it, or guess as to how you’re feeling.”
To educate GRCC students more on what consent means, DeVries added that a Blackboard course has been created, and is full of resources, quizzes, and videos. The course is listed under the “Training and Orientation courses” section. DeVries said she’s hoping to add two more videos that will highlight GRCC’s Sexual Misconduct policy as well as the resources that are available, such as counseling and police escorts.
For students interested in helping with the videos or just wanting to talk about this issue in general, contact Kimberly DeVries at 616-234-2120 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Students can also discuss any issues by calling the Counseling and Career Development office at 616-234-3900.