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Concordia workshops tackle issue of sexual consent

The university is providing workshops to Residence Life staff and frosh leaders
August 6, 2014
By Sara DuBreuil and Karen McCarthy


Jennifer Drummond is not shy to talk about sexual consent.

“Unfortunately most people haven’t received quality — if any — sexual education in school or had those important conversations with family and friends,” says Drummond, who is the coordinator of Concordia’s Sexual Assault Resource Centre. “People shy away from talking about sex and consequently lack knowledge in this area.

“Whether meaning to or not, people can cross boundaries and sexually assault someone,” says Drummond. “It’s about learning about consent, bystander intervention and rape culture, and how to support each other. It’s starting those conversations.”

That is why the beginning of the school year is the right time to start to talk about sexual assault. “With frosh and other parties taking place at the start of term, and with many students away from home for the first time, we want to help create awareness about sexual consent.”

This month, the topic of sexual consent on campus is the theme of a training session Drummond is giving to Residence Life staff. She is also working with the university’s Department of Recreation and Athletics to offer workshops on sexual communication and consent for coaches and athletes.

In addition, the centre has collaborated on an initiative lead by the Dean of Students Office involving Student Services and the Centre for Gender Advocacy to deliver the first-ever harm-reduction training program to all orientation and frosh student leaders, staff and volunteers, on request by student leaders. The three-hour mandatory workshop will cover topics like first aid, alcohol management and sexual consent.

“This training complements the training that the student associations are doing,” explains Andrew Woodall, Concordia’s dean of students. “It is very much a collaborative effort and we are supporting these student leaders by giving them knowledge and tools so they can create a safe environment on campus, especially during frosh and orientation activities.”

Woodall says it’s about empowering the people in charge with proactive prevention strategies, but also how to deal with any situations that may arise and learn from the experience to improve prevention measures for the future.

Later this fall, the centre will be holding three university-wide sessions for students on the topics of sexual communication, taking action to prevent sexual violence, and supporting survivors of sexual assault.

Discover Concordia – August 26, 27, 28

The centre will have information tables at the upcoming Discover Concordia orientation events taking place on the Loyola Campus (August 26) and Sir George Williams Campus (August 27, 28). Students will be able to pick up materials that explain how to start a consent conversation that focuses on asking and respecting your partner’s wishes.

About the Sexual Assault Resource Centre

Although the centre opened less than a year ago (its doors officially opened in November 2013), Drummond has been busy recruiting and training volunteers, creating a resource library, holding workshops and building partnerships with the broader community.

“We are still in our first year, after starting from scratch,” says Drummond. “Our focus is to build on this momentum and over time to shift attitudes and behaviours in order to prevent sexual assault.”

Concordia students, staff and faculty are invited to drop in to the Sexual Assault Resource Centre, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, in the Guy-Metro (GM) Building, Room GM-300.27, 1550 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W. You can also contact the centre by phone at 514-848-2424, ext. 3353, or email at

Here are some of the workshops that the Sexual Assault Resource Centre is offering this fall:

Sexual Communication: Ask, Listen and Respect

When: Wednesday, September 17, from 3 to 5 p.m.
Where: Room H-440, Henry H. Hall Building (1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.), Sir George Williams Campus

Sexual Communication: Ask, Listen and Respect

When: Friday, October 17, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Room AD-103, Administration Building, Loyola Campus (7141 Sherbrooke St. W.)

I’ve Got Your Back: Take Action to Prevent Sexual Violence

When: Thursday, October 23, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Room H-440, Henry H. Hall Building (1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.), Sir George Williams Campus

Supporting a Survivor of Sexual Assault

When: Wednesday, November 26, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Where: Room H-440, Henry H. Hall Building (1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.), Sir George Williams Campus

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