Consent talks should be a conversation year-round
It’s nearly time for Night of Decadence, the ever-popular, notorious and sex-centric Wiess costume public. NOD is, hands down, Rice’s most renowned public. It’s been highlighted in Playboy and Rolling Stone magazines. It even has its own Wikipedia page.
Given the nature of this public, chief justices across campus will be giving alcohol, consent and body and sex positivity talks. This is part of an effort to minimize the possibility of assaults and other inappropriate incidents occurring at the public and to maximize students’ enjoyment. We applaud college governments for raising discussions about consent and safe sex. But these concerns don’t start — or end — with NOD, and neither should the talks to address them.
Last year, we wrote about the importance of practicing the culture of care as most of the Rice campus experiences public parties for the first time. Part of that process, which is crucial to the survival of public parties in the future, should include an ongoing conversation about consent and safety for every public, not just NOD.
We do appreciate that new Rice students are required to engage in sexual health and communication, healthy relationships and bystander intervention conversations in the Critical Thinking in Sexuality course. However, only New Students enroll in CTIS, typically during their first semester.
Conversations about consent and alcohol safety should be front and center before every public, but we understand the logistical barriers this would create. Instead of waiting until October, student leaders should give these talks before the first public of the year to ensure everyone receives this important information as soon as possible.
Over the next week and a half, we urge you to engage in NOD talks, be mindful of your peers and, most importantly, have fun. But moving forward, we encourage college governments to introduce these vital conversations earlier in the school year.
Editor’s Note: Thresher editorials are collectively written by the members of the Thresher’s editorial board. Current members include Ben Baker-Katz, Morgan Gage, Bonnie Zhao, Hajera Naveed, Nayeli Shad, Riya Misra, Michelle Gachelin, Daniel Schrager, Prayag Gordy and Brandon Chen. Editor-in-chief Morgan Gage recused herself from this editorial due to her involvement in discussions around NOD talks.
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