“Sex and Pizza” consent workshop debuts on campus

Naia Willemsen, News Reporter

On Oct. 13, residents of Stanton, Douglas, Jewett and North Halls attended a mandatory workshop dubbed “Sex and Pizza” to learn about consent. The workshop—put on by Residence Life—featured skits and different metaphors about consent, centering on thinking about sex in terms of pizza.

“We talked about old metaphors that had been used, such as baseball with the whole metaphor of first base, second base and third base, and the way that that promotes sort of an unhealthy view of sex and relationships,” Stanton Hall resident assistant and Planned Parenthood Generation Action co-president Kaitlynne Jensen said. “We were sort of promoting and introducing people to a new way to think about sex and consent using pizza because it’s much more inclusive and focuses much more on communication.” 

For first-year Ellen Haney, the metaphor of pizza was new. 

“The skits weren’t explicitly about sex, they were just about pizza, but you can tell what they were talking about,” Haney said. “I think it was a good way of addressing the kinds of ways you could have conversations without bringing up anything that could be harmful.”

However, first-year Sophie Schonder had a different perspective on the pizza metaphor and the workshop as a whole.

“I gained no information from it; I felt like I was a child being told about what sex and consent was,” Schonder said. “They didn’t use any sexual language, and they didn’t touch on the presence of alcohol with consent, which I think is really important at a college. I just think it was really uninformative and gave no one new information.”

This was the first year this type of required workshop has been put on by Residence Life. In the past, Green Dot, a bystander intervention program that no longer exists on campus, has been at the center of consent conversations in addition to a consent talk during orientation week for first-year students. 

A part of Schonder’s issue with the workshop concerned the way sensitive information was handled.

“I don’t blame the students that put it on, but I think if you’re going to address all of the students about consent and sex you should have people that are trained properly or just actually want to talk about the subject and know certain things [like] how to handle those situations if you do have people in the crowd that have gone through sexual assault,” Schonder said.

Jensen did recognize that there was room for bettering the workshop.

“I always think that there’s room for improvement for the ways that we talk about and look at [consent and sex], so I’m not saying that it’s perfect, but I think that it’s definitely better than the ways people are taught to look at it,” Jensen said.

Schonder agreed with this sentiment, articulating that for “the next [workshop], they should understand that everyone that’s receiving the talk are all adults and either have experienced a sexual situation or know what sex is, so it doesn’t need to be this joke and a taboo subject. I think that’s the biggest takeaway.”

Although all other students living on campus were supposed to go to the second version of the workshop to be held on Oct. 21, that workshop was abruptly postponed. 

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the sex & pizza consent workshop that was scheduled for tomorrow evening has been postponed,” Lyman House Resident Director Blythe Eickerman said in an email sent to residents on Oct. 20. 

No other information was disclosed regarding the reasons behind this cancellation.