By Emma Gilpin
This year’s Freshers’ Week saw a great deal of controversy surrounding the Sexual Consent Workshops that were being held in Oxford and at several other universities. After the Daily Mail published an article entitled “Oxbridge freshers are to get classes in sexual consent that teach them how not to rape their fellow undergrads”, many people were outraged and at universities such as York, students boycotted these talks, claiming that they did not wish to be “patronised”. It is of course easy to argue, as one York undergraduate did, that “if students really need lessons in how to say yes or no then they should not be at university.” Aside from the other issues raised by these claims, such as the fact that these consent talks are geared towards students of university age and are actually likely to provoke interesting, nuanced debates, there is the question of why these talks are needed. NUS figures have shown that 1 in 5 students experiences some form of sexual assault during their first week at university. So whilst these talks may seem patronising to some, this is not because they are unnecessary; it is because many students arrive at university with inadequate knowledge of safe and healthy sexual behavior and relationships.