Consent the D, the student-led movement aimed at raising awareness about sexual violence and consent, ended abruptly when the founder posted on the group’s Facebook page Monday morning.
A video posted Tuesday morning by senior Randy Vollrath, the movement’s founder, confirmed the movement was over and that T-shirt production is halted as they “work to address the issue.”
“Unfortunately, the Consent the D movement was cut short by forces outside of my control,” Vollrath said in the video statement. “Even though the Consent the D movement has ended, I challenge other DePaul students to take a stand and find a creative way to make a statement.”
Vollrath said, “Assuming the shirts go out, we will still be donating to Rape Victim Advocates,” but provided no further comment at this time.
According to the group’s ThreadMeUp page, they sold 74 T-shirts at $15.60 a piece totaling to about $1,154. Vollrath said 50 percent of the profits will be donated to Rape Victim Advocates, however, with production costs, Vollrath said they will send a check for about $307.84.
The movement stirred up conversation among students and others close to DePaul throughout the past week.
“We know there has been controversy, but we consider the movement a great success,” Vollrath said. “From the beginning we were fighting to create awareness of sexual violence and advocate for consent. Considering the attention and support the movement has received, we are happy to see more awareness and advocacy for the cause.”
Adina Babaian, a sophomore and member of DePaul Feminist Front, said she knew that the movement would come to an end and figured there would probably be a trademark issue with DePaul. Feminist Front was one of the groups on campus that was not happy with the movement.
“We were upset that because this is an issue that groups on campus having been focusing on for so long,” Babaian said. “He had not reached out to the community and had not made any attempts to have discussions about the shirt. He clearly wasn’t educated on the issue and because he was male, it was automatically more praised because of his gender.”
Just last week, DePaul students from Feminist Front and Feminist Uprising to Resist Inequality and Exploitation participated in the “Carry That Weight” march in the Loop to show support for Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz.
Although, in his video he was quick to acknowledge the work of other activists on campus while recognizing that “others feel differently about the T-shirts.”
“His response didn’t acknowledge why people thought Consent the D was a negative movement,” Babaian said. “(He) had been approached by activists on campus telling him that the shirts had triggered victims and survivors of sexual violence. And although he seemed to initially respect that, he was seen the next day wearing the shirt, which shows a direct disregard for the people they were supporting.”
However, within the DePaul community, Vollrath believed “the reference would be appreciated and the message would be clear.”
“The shirt’s design is a reference to the ‘Fear the D’ T-shirts that circulated a year and a half ago,” Vollrath said. “The word consent on our shirts was chosen intentionally because it unambiguously means ‘nothing happens without all participants agreeing.’”
Although, his video expressed hope for a continued conversation about sexual violence and awareness at DePaul.
“The movement has allowed me to witness the desire of many of my peers to take a stand,” Vollrath said. “This has been inspirational, it offers reason for hope with the cause.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Vollrath would donate about $577 to Rape Victim Advocates. However, they will donate 50 percent of the profits, which amounts to $307.84 pending if the shirts are still able to go out.