Cuomo Announces New SUNY-Wide Policy To Prevent Sexual Assault

The policy come two weeks after a report of sexual assault surfaced on a SUNY campus in Westchester.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that a new set of practices on how to combat sexual assault on college campuses will be implemented at all SUNY schools.

The practices include, but are not restricted to, all-encompassing definitions of sexual consent, a guaranteed immunity policy to protect students that report sexual assaults and a statewide training program meant to prepare campus police and administrators for how to address reports of sexual assault.

“There has been an epidemic of sexual violence in this country that is truly disturbing and it is plaguing our college campuses,” Cuomo said in a statement, noting that he will work to implement similar policies on New York’s private college campuses. “This is not just a SUNY problem, but SUNY can lead and SUNY can reform on-campus safety so we can better protect our students, and make our university communities a safer place.”

Cuomo’s resolution comes about two weeks after a sexual assault allegedly occurred on Westchester’s SUNY Purchase College campus and only one day after the same campus’ Police Department released an annual security report disclosing that four sexual offenses occurred on the campus in 2013. SUNY Purchase, which has a total enrollment of 4,265 students, was also subjected to public scrutiny in 2010 after failing to notify the campus community about a female student who was allegedly forced into the campus’ adjacent woods by a group of men and later raped by one of them.

“I take it pretty seriously and so does the college,” said Purchase College Police Chief Michael Bailey, according to the Journal News. Regarding the recent sexual assault allegations, Bailey declined to give any additional details about the on-going investigation. “It’s our intent to get to the bottom of everything and if we need to make an arrest, we will.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new set of rules regarding how SUNY institutions should deal with and prevent sexual assault.

Courtesy of the State of New York

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