Tab investigation reveals the UK universities running consent classes in 2017

Only two are making them mandatory


Consent classes aim to teach new students how to engage in safe and consensual sex. They cover 'grey areas' of consent, such as when students are drunk or change their demeanour throughout the night.

In an investigation by The Tab, it can be revealed that only two unis, Oxford and Bristol, will be holding compulsory consent classes this year.

Seven universities are holding optional consent classes, and eight have said that they will not be providing them, although a number of that group will be providing alternatives.

Out of the 30 universities that we contacted, thirteen did not get back to us.

Consent classes have at times been labelled condescending and have led to mass student walkouts at some universities. Last year, a Warwick student went viral for saying that they were a waste of time.

Conversely, the University of Oxford made their consent workshops mandatory for the first time last year, and a survey by babe found that 56 percent of students think consent classes should be compulsory at university.

Here is the breakdown of which universities will be providing what when the new academic year begins in a month's time.

Unis running consent classes

Bristol University will be including the topic of consent as part of the mandatory e-induction for all students living in university accommodation. Consent will also be included as an issue in the residence workshops, which aren't mandatory for new students.

Durham University encourages students to take an online course called 'Consent Matters', which covers boundaries, respect, and positive intervention. It will not be compulsory for new students. Freshers reps will also undergo active bystander training.

Loughborough University will be delivering optional consent workshops for all students to attend. They hope to build on the success on last year, which had a turnout of 900 freshers.

Oxford University will be running compulsory consent classes as part of college's freshers programmes. A spokesperson for the Students' Union said: “Year to year, Oxford SU has seen increasing numbers of students looking to train as workshop facilitators, and thanks to their commitment we are proud to say that we now offer consent workshops in every college! Oxford SU has been encouraging colleges to make consent workshops compulsory since 2014/15, and as of Michaelmas 2016, All JCRs had made their workshops compulsory along with 14 MCRs."

Queen’s Belfast are running peer-led consent workshops aimed primarily at first year students. The workshops will be optional and aim to raise awareness of consent on campus.

Royal Holloway will be delivering consent workshops in September. Willow Wong, Vice President of Royal Holloway Students' Union, said: “As the VP Welfare & Diversity at RHSU, I will be collaborating with our Feminism Society, alongside our student reps on the Equalities Council to deliver consent workshops during Freshers’ Festival. There will be two workshops available to both new and returning students, one will be dedicated to sexual consent, with another workshop discussing consent in a social setting. They are optional workshops."

University of St Andrews will continue to run their ‘StAnd Together: Got Consent?’ workshops during orientation week and the first and second semester. A spokesperson said that “all students in the University’s halls of residence are strongly encouraged to attend" but the workshops will not be mandatory."

The University of Sussex. A spokesperson from The University of Sussex said: “There will be a variety of opportunities for University of Sussex students to learn about sexual consent, ranging from mandatory online awareness-raising for new students, to optional interactive workshops and campaigns for all students over the year."

Warwick University's Student's Union will be running an academic module, an online course and workshops throughout the year to tackle sexual violence on campus. Student engagement will not be mandatory but strongly encouraged by the Students' Union.

Unis not running consent classes

Birmingham University's Women's Officer Holly Campbell said: “Here at Birmingham we do not have compulsory consent classes but we do run a very prominent 'Not On' campaign. This campaign tackles issues such as sexual harassment and part of the campaign includes having Not On Student Ambassadors who run workshops with various societies, committees, sports teams, and other student groups."

Portsmouth University will be offering active bystander training to all students, under their Speak Up Step Up project. The training will not be compulsory and will be open to all students.

Manchester University's Women's Officer Sara Heddi said that consent workshops are “very much a work in progress". At present compulsory classes are not being run, but Heddi told us: “What I've managed to achieve so far is including slides on consent and possibly a video that will be included in Fresher's fire safety talks, which as far as I'm aware are compulsory."

Nottingham University will not be running consent workshops. The University will collaborate with the Union on their ‘Let’s be Clear on Consent’ campaign, which provides students with information on sexual consent and support services. Student leaders (residence mentors, sports clubs) will complete mandatory bystander intervention training.

Leeds University's Students' Union said: “We do not currently have plans for consent workshops but are working in partnership with the university to continue the work of consent campaigns such as 'We've Got Your Back'."

Bath University are not carrying out consent classes for the coming academic year. They will be reviewing their sexual harassment/assault policy and initiate a new campaign soon.

UWE are not running consent classes. They will offer optional advice on gender equality and respect, for students interested.

Exeter University are not planning on running any consent classes.