A Timely Talk on Consent

On January 4th, all of the male students of Western Reserve Academy gathered in the chapel during an A+ period to discuss consent and the laws regarding consent. As of late, the news has been filled with reports of sexual harassment and assault by famous individuals. Some of the individuals that have been part of the great and ever expanding of accused sexual harassment and assault perpetrators list are Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Louis C.K, etc. For this reason, the administration decided to have the male students be educated on how to avoid scenarios like what is plaguing Hollywood and, at large, the world. Ms. Sindy Warren was in charge of directing the discussion and answering questions.

Ms. Warren is a practicing lawyer and consultant to Western Reserve Academy, and she is very knowledgeable on the topic and has seen many cases concerning consent. There were many questions asked that helped clarify what consent actually is and what it means. For example, one student asked, “What is the difference between flirting and sexual harassment?” Ms. Warren answered that flirting is a mutual way of sexual communication and sexual harassment is not welcome. She continued by explaining examples of each in detail. Students seemed to have mixed opinions about these talks. William Downing ’19 stated, “it is an important topic to cover in our community, and the students were thoroughly educated on consent and its meaning. I know people were very confused about the whole topic, and the counselor was very helpful in relieving some of the confusion surrounding it.” Another student, John Narouze ’18, reflected that he learned a lot and is “ready to move onto college with this newfound knowledge of consent.” However, other students were offended that the meeting was solely required men. As for the overall success of the meeting, it appears the students have thought a lot about the matter of consent and learned in depth the laws and conditions regarding consent. Thank you to the WRA Deans and Ms. Warren for educating the boys of WRA and looking out for our best interests!

– Carson Harkins ’19

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