Ethan Bachand ’22
Chief News Editor
Throughout the days of Feb. 10-14, the Student Government Association has put on Sexual Respect Awareness Week in order to better educate the College of the Holy Cross community. By encompassing a wide variety of events each day, the SGA hopes to start a conservation with students about a difficult topic while also cultivating an attitude of respect.
The first event of the week, on Feb. 10, was a seminar style talk led by Jody Shipper, entitled: “Let’s Talk About Consent”. Taking place on the fifth floor of Hogan, students engaged in a discussion that looked in depth at what consent truly is. Speaking to The Spire about her talk, Ms. Shipper stated, “I think I’m really hoping that we can understand that consent is nuanced and can be difficult to navigate. At the same time, that’s no excuse for not going through the effort to ensure that you have consent. I’m hoping we could all bring a little more attention to it so that we can collectively get better at making sure that there is a mutual understanding.”
Adding on to her statement, Shipper spoke about Sexual Respect Awareness Week in general, saying “I think it’s fantastic. I work with lots of schools around the country, and whenever students get involved it’s a plus for the entire community, even if a small subsection of students are the ones who are involved and learning, they can become ambassadors to the larger community.”
Shipper has extensive experience in the field, working beyond just the scope of college sexual consent policy. As she put it, “I’ve been working in this field for about twenty years, before it was chic. I am currently working with schools, large and small, around the country. Policies, procedures, not just sex and gender issues but race, religion, and all of that. I do spend a lot of time on these issues helping school communities get smarter in the ways we address those issues.”
Following that event was “Dialogue for Healing: Addressing Sexual Respect in Our Community”. Instead of a guest speaker, however, the event was moderated by the Chaplin’s Office as well as the Counseling Center. SGA Chief of Staff Delaney Wells ’20 spoke to The Spire prior to the event about how the whole week came together, saying, “We’re really excited to have been able to reach out to all sorts of groups on campus, reaching out to student organizations such as Pax Christi, the Relationship Peer Educators, all grade levels, as well as specifically Student Government. We’re excited to get a mix from all areas of this school.”
Student Government Co-President Christian Realbuto was also at the event, commenting in reference to Sexual Respect Awareness Week, “We felt like it was a salient issue on campus, in the same fashion that there is awareness around safe drinking, we’re looking to promote sexual respect. We want to build a respectful culture, so we are hoping this is a way to raise awareness and kind of spread the word.”
The week also included the annual Vagina Monologues, performed on Wednesday and Thursday, and the Valentine’s Day Breakfast, which is today.