On April 1 at the Turret, a nightclub event will be hosted by local DJ and undergraduate at Wilfrid Laurier University, Garrett Large. The event is a club-night dubbed Consent is Cool and will raise proceeds to donate to the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region (SASC).
SASC works with Laurier directly and acts as a 24-7 phone support centre. Laurier also has several student groups that focus on gender violence and consent, such as “Not My Laurier; Golden Hawks Combatting Gender Violence” and “Advocates for Student Culture of Consent.” However, neither the Gendered Violence Task Force nor Laurier as an institute affiliated with the event Consent is Cool.
“It’s not about awareness; it’s about setting an example. Obviously there will be awareness brought to the issue just because of [the theme]. But that’s not what this is about, it’s about having fun,” Large said.
Large also said that the club-night will also be about redefining nightlife with a sense of mutual respect.
“In general, it’s good to make opportunities to challenge the culture around consent as it relates to nightlife. When people think about consent they think about it maybe just in the strict realm of sexual acts or encounters. I think there’s a lot that needs to be introduced to the bar scene,” Lynn Kane, manager of gender violence prevention and gender support, said.
“…We should be able to have this sort of environment without there being issues.”
-Garrett Large,’ Consent is Cool’ event host
As of yet, the event will operate just as any club-night event hosted at the Turret.
“I hope people look at this and don’t shy away from the event because of the underlying theme. It’s still going to be a great night,” Large said.
In the past, it could be said that events held by the Diversity and Equity Office and Gendered Violence Task Force that explored the subject of consent have been more formal and focused on education.
“I don’t think that a nightclub event necessarily provides the best opportunity to provide education. Consent can be a pretty complicated topic for people to understand and I think that to build that kind of understanding, you often need dialogue and that is hard to facilitate at a nightclub event,” Kane said.
Allegedly, concerns have been raised regarding the theme of consent being incompatible with the setting of a nightclub.
“Everyone keeps asking me, is there going to be alcohol? Absolutely. They say, well that’s a little sensitive. Well, no it’s not. Because we should be able to have this sort of environment without there being issues,” Large explained when asked if he believed having a consent event in the context of a club-night could be problematic.
“When I talk to our security, I will tell them ‘you see anything at all, they need to go.’ No questions, no talking to them, they need to go.’ Because, this is a night when we’re fundraising for [SASC] and if something goes wrong because someone is being a jerk, like it’s an example that needs to be set and pushed, especially for this night,” Large said.
Other than the alleged scrutinized security, Large did not vocalize any further plans to ensure that the nightclub will be a safe zone.
“I hope that what people will take from this event is that they had fun. That everyone was great and it was a good environment,” Large said.
“Going forward, I hope people will have that in the back of their minds. That night at the Turret, why can’t every night be like that?”
Kane has contacted Large on March 28 and they currently have plans to discuss a possible collaboration on March 29.
A collaboration could mean possible support and education that relates to the theme of the night and provides the event with more resources that would make it more accessible.