Consent is Cool: Lander University Celebrates Denim Day

April 23, 2024

“Remember: nothing is more fashionable than consent!”

The final mantra of Lander University’s Denim Day fashion show rang across the plaza on April 17 as both the Lander and Greenwood communities advocated for consent when it comes to sex and spoke out against sexual violence.

Denim Day is an international movement that pushes against victim blaming and any form of sexual assault. Denim Day will be officially celebrated worldwide on April 24, but Lander University held its event a week early due to its exam schedule.

Bearcats all across campus wore denim clothing to celebrate the day. Denim Day originated in 1992, after a rape conviction was overturned in Italy. The country’s supreme court claimed the act must have been consensual because the woman was wearing tight denim pants during the alleged assault. The court argued that the victimmust have helped her rapist remove the tight jeans for consensual sex.  

“The following day, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans in solidarity with the victim,” says the official Denim Day website.

Ayrn Gilstrap, assistant director of Student Conduct and Community Standards, said the main goal of Lander’sevent was to make sure students knew about the resources that were available to them, community partners that could assist them and how to get help if they need it. The event was paid for with a grant and Gilstrap said a lot of collaboration went into making it happen.

Lander University Police Department was also at the event, talking to students about how to say no and how to defend themselves.

One of the highlights of the event was a denim fashion show, where students strutted down a cat walk showing off their denim outfits. The winner was NyAsia Simmons, a freshman nursing major from Hemingway, who stunned the judges with her denim body suit and denim jacket adorned with gemstone tassels.

Alix Kundinger, a sophomore medical biology and Spanish major from Hortonville, Wisconsin, was another participant in the fashion show.

“I definitely wanted to be part of it because I think it’s a really, really great cause and a great thing to be aware of because we know consent is cool, so I think it’s a great thing to get all the campus involved in that and just get everyone on the same page and in the right direction,” Kundinger said.

“We never want somebody to do something that they’re not comfortable with.”

Along with campus resources, several community agencies were on site. Meg’s House, Beyond Abuse and Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office had tables set up to share information about resources available to Lander students, faculty, staff and the community as a whole.

Brittany Chambers, education outreach manager at Beyond Abuse said Denim Day is a big event for them because it speaks to what they do as an organization. A lot of times young people don’t have information about consent, she said, so it’s important for them to be educated on sexual assault and what consent should and shouldn’t look like.

Dena Gossett, deputy chief of Lander University Police Department said the department aims to educate students about the importance of consent. They also taught students some tactics if they ever need to defend themselves from an assault and advertised upcoming self defense classes that will be available for students, faculty and staff.

What LUPD wanted students to take away from the event was that they have a choice.

“They can say no and their no matters, their voice matters,” Gossett said.  “I think that sometimes, you have students come around and they say they’re scared, they don’t want to come to law enforcement because they’re scared of how it’s going to be handled and they need to know that we’re here for them especially in sexual assault situations. We have great resources to assist them through everything.”

Along with LUPD, Lander has multiple resources available to assist students. For more information, visit