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Taking a stand on consent: DePaul students respond and lead pro-consent movement ‘Consent the D’

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Randy Vollrath (center), a senior at DePaul, holds the preliminary T-shirt design for the Consent the D movement he started.  Vollrath says this is the student response that is “ long overdue” and hopes to put DePaul on the map, demonstrating that students care and are doing something proactive about sexual assault. (Grant Myatt / The DePaulia)

Randy Vollrath (center), a senior at DePaul, holds the preliminary T-shirt design for the Consent the D movement he started. Vollrath says this is the student response that is “ long overdue” and hopes to put DePaul on the map, demonstrating that students care and are doing something proactive about sexual assault. (Grant Myatt / The DePaulia)

Update 10/27, 10:15 p.m.: an earlier version of this story omitted the fact that 50 percent of the T-shirt sales will go to Rape Victims Advocates, a non-profit in Chicago.

As a response to calls from national leaders, advocacy organizations and The DePaulia itself, a student-led movement has emerged with the mission of raising awareness on the issue of sexual assault, one T-shirt at a time.

The movement, called Consent the D, was started earlier this month by a group of DePaul students who were not satisfied with the levels of progress being made on the issue. Senior Randy Vollrath, founder of the movement, said students need to stand up and show that sexual assault is not OK and that a movement like this is “long overdue.”

Drake Manalo (left) designed the t-shirts while Randy Vollrath (right) came up with the idea for “Consent The D” to show that DePaul students care. (Grant Myatt / The DePaulia)

Drake Manalo (left) designed the t-shirts while Randy Vollrath (right) came up with the idea for “Consent The D” to show that DePaul students care. (Grant Myatt / The DePaulia)

“The issue has rose to prominence in recent years, both nationally and at our own university. A few weeks ago there was a sexual assault a block off campus,” Vollrath said. “There’s been a lot of talk about the issue of sexual assault lately, but nowhere near as much action. The DePaulia boldly called for action on sexual assault a few weeks ago. This is the student response.”

The name of the group is a direct reference to the Fear the D T-shirts that DePaul has sold in the past. While the “D” in that context stands for “Blue Demons”, some have raised an issue with possibly implicit undertones being expressed. Playing off of that, the group is selling T-shirts that say “Consent the D”.

“We really wanted to engage the DePaul community and bring awareness about an issue that people care about,” Drake Manelo, designer of the groups T-shirts, said. “We changed the idea a bit from the initial proposals, especially after having gathered insights from other DePaul students.”

To make the shirts, the group employed the services of ThreadMeUp, a custom apparel startup founded by DePaul alums. The shirts cost $15 and half of the T-shirt sales will go to Rape Victims Advocates, a non-profit in Chicago.

“Randy first came to us with the idea,” Paul Salvucci, co-founder of the company, said. “He interned at ThreadMeUp for the summer and witnessed firsthand the power of ThreadMeUp Movements. He created the design concept with hopes to spread awareness around campus.”

The final t-shirt design that the group expects to receive this week. (Image courtesy of Randy Vollrath)

The final t-shirt design that the group expects to receive this week. (Image courtesy of Randy Vollrath)

According to Salvucci, the newly formed company allows for users to create and advertise their design on a custom product where supporters can pre-order and essentially crowd fund the costs of production.

“We have seen a lot of business from college organizations, especially DePaul,” Salvucci said. “Most of our team has graduated or are still enrolled at DePaul, so naturally we connected with their community first. It’s great to walk around DePaul’s campus and see shirts that we helped create.”

According to Vollrath, about 30 shirts have been purchased so far. On the shirt’s ThreadMeUp page, the goal in T-shirts sold is 1,000. The time to buy is limited, however, with the last day to buy being Nov. 8.

“The shirts are only available for a limited time, so you need to act quickly to get one,” Vollrath said.

With more than 250 “likes” despite little advertising to this point, the group believes that their message is resonating and that students are ready to get involved in the pro-consent movement.

“We had some great early stage growth. There will be special events exclusively for people who have purchased shirts,” he said. “We’re cultivating a community around the cause. It’s worth buying a shirt and following the page if only to be in on a big thing happening at DePaul.”

With a goal of getting to more than 1,000 “likes” by the end of the week, Vollrath promised many exciting things coming up with the movement.

“I’m very excited about our marketing strategy,” Vollrath said. “The next couple weeks will be exciting on the Facebook page and on campus. That’s all I’ll say for now.”

As part of bringing the community together, the movement established partnerships with the Alpha Epsilon Pi and Phi Kappa Psi fraternities on campus.

“We want as many people wearing the shirts as possible,” Vollrath said. “We want the DePaul community to come together and support the cause. And we want the country to know where DePaul stands on sexual assault.”

30 Comments

30 Responses to “Taking a stand on consent: DePaul students respond and lead pro-consent movement ‘Consent the D’”

  1. tim on October 27th, 2014 2:24 pm

    This article is gross. Why on earth is this printed at all? It just praises these boys for starting a movement that is nothing more than abiding the legal and moral standards of sex. Following consent SHOULDN’T have to be an issue, but, at the end of the day, it is. There’s no denying that. These boys are doing nothing more than “following the rules” so to say. This article does not try to educate people on the issues surrounding consensual sex nor does it even discuss what women think of the issue, which is upsetting. Making these T-shirts isn’t taking any action, it’s making light of situations that are not light for many people. The t-shirts are immature and it’s pathetic how little effort was put into this article. You are promoting these boys and their start up company rather than trying to educate people on consent and talk about the real issue at hand.

    [Reply]

  2. Tyler on October 27th, 2014 2:59 pm

    The name should be changed. It genuinely sounds like people don’t have a choice in consent, it sounds like a command, and then of course the photo only features men to reinforce how bad it comes off. I talked to a victim and they thought this was outrageous.

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  3. myles on October 27th, 2014 4:34 pm

    the only way these shirts are gonna stop rape is if they’re really hard to take off.

    [Reply]

    Amy Reply:

    you are a piece of filth

    [Reply]

  4. alexis on October 27th, 2014 5:49 pm

    This is beyond offensive. I really shouldn’t have to state the obvious but apparently I have to because the freaking DePaulia thought this was okay to post. First, only having guys promote this and be in the picture, hmm… Also it is a command statement, not giving an option. It is making light of a situation and it is not okay. The shirts don’t even come with any tips on how you can help raise awareness about this HUGE problem. The money? Is it going to help survivors or more campaign methods to raise awareness? Clearly not, because that would be stated. This article is literally promotion for these guys and it is so offensive i can’t get over it. Come on DePaul

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  5. Carlos Danger on October 27th, 2014 6:01 pm

    What does consent have to do with rape? Do you really think that the rapist was just mistaken about whether or not he had permission to have sex with his victim?

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  6. Kyle on October 27th, 2014 7:41 pm

    Wow I don’t think this could be any more male-centric and uninclusive.

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  7. Benny on October 27th, 2014 8:33 pm

    The idea that people have not been discussing consent issues and sexual assault awareness on campus is ridiculous and deeply offensive. In fact, women-lead organizations and lots of individuals have been doing important work on this issue all along. Why does it suddenly get a lot of attention when men are suddenly able to make MONEY off of it? This isn’t a win for consent awareness, it’s a win for money-grubbing opportunists.

    The fact that these guys are happy to speak over the many women on our campus who have been trying to address this issue shows how deeply clueless they are. Shame on the DePaulia for giving them attention.

    [Reply]

    alexis Reply:

    So SO So true. And the fact that one is an RA? That sure says something about student leadership. This is beyond not okay.

    [Reply]

  8. Caligula on October 27th, 2014 10:18 pm

    This is absolutely hilarious. Idiot liberal boys trying to shed light on an artificial issue (over-exaggerated at the very least) and their motto reads like a sexual command of offensive proportions. The photo is like a still shot of one of those commercials on SNL starring Will Ferrell and Andy Sandberg. Great job guys.

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    Josephine Reply:

    What about this issue is artificial?

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  9. Josephine on October 27th, 2014 11:33 pm

    I just read about tshirts. Not sexual assault awareness. How does this tshirt, and the movement itself, inform?

    [Reply]

  10. Cynthia on October 27th, 2014 11:45 pm

    I refuse to believe this is not a work of satire because there is no possible way this is a real thing that is happening and that these dudes actually think they’re relevant. Also, thanks for the update on that non-profit, but they should keep 100% of the proceeds cos they’re gonna need it to buy snacks for their “exclusive” events. I know jungle juice is expensive to make these days.

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  11. Please on October 27th, 2014 11:47 pm

    Delete this because it is not news; it’s wasting space

    [Reply]

  12. But actually on October 27th, 2014 11:47 pm

    This is painful to read.

    [Reply]

  13. Cynthia on October 27th, 2014 11:55 pm

    Really respect the DIY vibe y’all are pushing here. It’s wonderful to see dudes actively engage in the community and bring attention to a hard-pressing issue! Thanks, boys! We truly appreciate your ingenuity. Let’s all buy these shirts so we can see what all the hubbub is regarding those super secret parties! Cos that’s the reason to be involved in a cause– all the ragers! xoxo

    [Reply]

  14. Anon on October 28th, 2014 2:44 am

    Honestly, I commend them for taking a stand and getting recognition on an issue–something that can’t be said for about 80 percent of the student body. I wouldn’t expect many of the freshmen and sophomores getting involved in the debate to understand the history of this shirt…its a play on the Fear the D shirts that we had for Blue Demon Day two years ago; a shirt that received national-level recognition because of the slogan, which became a lot more daunting given the increased issue of sexual assault on campus last year.
    As far as the issues of having guys promote it, I don’t see a problem. Sexual offenders can be male or female, but statistically the majority are male. Its nice seeing male students also getting involved in drawing awareness to an issue such as consent.
    The immaturity of the student body is unfortunately showing through this though. If you have an issue with the shirts or the message that you think they send, contribute constructive criticism and help continue the conversation instead of trying to shoot it down.

    [Reply]

  15. Josh on October 28th, 2014 10:45 am

    This is so awful and dumb. I’m embarrassed that I wasted 30k a year here.

    [Reply]

  16. Meghan on October 28th, 2014 3:05 pm

    ew what is this – consent the “d”? you’re commanding me to say yes to you? not even you.. but your “d”?

    [Reply]

    dpu2015 Reply:

    Its a play on the shirt from two years ago that said “Fear the D.” I HIGHLY doubt it was intended to be taken the wrong way. Although, if you didn’t know about the Fear The D shirts, then I can see why you would see it this way.

    The Fear The D shirts were a huge hit and made it on the front page of Reddit.

    https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRfqDKPQNrsKvJNXNf5leX3e8PuOfRLe-5Hb7X_MsnuzxEqQFoL9aBHDg

    [Reply]

    Meghan Reply:

    2 years ago. half of the student body doesn’t get the reference. On top of that “fear the d” is almost as offensive. I say “almost” because at least there is truth behind it…

    [Reply]

  17. Danielle on October 28th, 2014 8:07 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with promoting awareness. However, this is not right. The only way to properly raise awareness is through proper education about the issue, not a “catchy” t-shirt slogan. These students could also be creating alliances with the many organizations on campus who have been fighting for proper education and awareness of consent, as opposed to putting words on a shirt.

    “D’s” are not the only ones committing sexual assault. “V’s” are guilty as well. So thanks for making this “movement,” and article, more sexist than it already was. This article is just raising popularity for these individuals and not awareness of consent. By the way, what is the real definition of consent? Because I certainly did not see it written once in this article. Not even as a quote from those who began this “movement.”

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  18. A Chill Guy on October 28th, 2014 8:11 pm

    The key to keeping people from raping people is facebook likes apparently?
    These dummies need to check their marketing privilege and end this whole *~look at us and how much better we are than all other men~* thing. Somehow, they’re managing to appear worse than they would have looked had they done nothing. Tasteless, offensive, and downright stupid. Saying “rape is bad” doesn’t change anything, dudes.

    [Reply]

  19. Padraic on October 29th, 2014 8:22 pm

    This is a total mockery of the idea of Consent. The reason “Fear the D” got national attention was due to the immaturity that is rampant among college students these days. There are multiple reasons to address DePaulia as well as the Frats that are “raising awareness.” First issue is the context of “Fear the D” in relation to “Consent the D.” I barely found “Fear the D” appropriate but I guess “Fear the Demons” or “Fear the DePaul” can be derived the slogan. Now let’s try and put “Consent the D” into the same context.. “Consent the DePaul” or “Consent the Demons.” Shameful. DePaulia, I am interested in your ethical selection process for what makes the headlines as well as the staff members that deemed this appropriate. In my opinion “raising awareness” in regards to consent and sexual assault and abuse is a delicate issue that needs to be approached with extreme caution. Please no one patronize the “men” that are trying to raise awareness while collecting money. “Its worth following the page if only to be in on a big thing happening at DePaul.” I’m sorry but directing more than 75% of the article to marketing ThreadMeUp and the campaign goals of a 1000 likes on facebook is very disturbing. Raising awareness involves discussing the issue as well as shedding light on scary statistics that most people cannot believe or don’t want to believe. Selling a T-shirt is not raising awareness, never-mind the fact the t-shirt is an insult to anyone directly or indirectly affected by the issue of sexual assault. Only HALF of the t-shirts will be going to Rape Victims Advocate? Why didn’t this fact make the DePaulia newsprint? I despise anyone who takes this as a joke or tries to justify the “intentions” of the shirt. If one person was sourly affected by this shirt, in regards to sexual assault, this should have never been printed.

    [Reply]

  20. Chris on October 29th, 2014 9:22 pm

    This phrase is strange and half-baked. I appreciate the effort, but this phrase makes no sense. I’m surprised this has been published.

    [Reply]

  21. Caitlyn on October 31st, 2014 4:00 pm

    Reporter: can you update the update? Staff at Rape Victims Advocates were unaware they were participating on this project.

    [Reply]

  22. Wait, what?! on November 2nd, 2014 2:14 am

    OK, so these dudes EXPRESS CONCERN ABOUT RAPE ON CAMPUS, and what do these stupid boneheads do in the comments? GRIPE, COMPLAIN, and generally rip their heads off simply because they are trying to raise the issue of RAPE as a horrible act.

    This is the horrible scourge of identity politics that will drive our nation into the ground, when everyone is offended by EVERYTHING… even when they are trying as hard as they can to BE ON YOUR SIDE. Bill Clinton mentioned this recently as the most pressing problem our country faces today.

    Sh-t, people, this is craziness.

    [Reply]

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Taking a stand on consent: DePaul students respond and lead pro-consent movement ‘Consent the D’