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The bill calls for new standards for counselor training and calls for an anonymous annual survey of students to provide a more accurate account of campus sexual assaults at all colleges and universities.
SUNY is the largest university system in the U.S. with nearly a half-million students at more than 60 campuses.
New York’s public university system is the first to support a law that would strengthen colleges and universities’ assistance for sexual assault victims while establishing strong penalties for non-compliance with the survey.
If passed, schools will have one year to fully implement the following changes to sexual assault response policy changes but there are provisions that should help you when you and your son or daughter sit down to pick a college.
WHEC Rochester says that the new bill, the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, calls for the following:
• Mandatory reporting of campus sexual assaults to the federal government.
• A mandatory contract between colleges and local police on how they deal with assaults.
• The creation of a confidential advisor — someone who will work with victims of sexual assault they moment he or she reports it.
• A mandatory yearly survey asking students questions about experiences with sexual assault. It would be anonymous and the federal department of education would publish an annual report that students and parents can access to see how many assaults took place at the school they’re interested in.
“There’s been a lot more talk about this but we’ve known that it’s been a concern for years,” Libby Caruso, the Director of Health and Counseling Services at the College at Brockport told WHEC Rochester. She says they talk to students about sexual assault prevention and the action afterwards during orientation, the first weekend at school and when they move into their dorms.
“So it’s reinforced throughout their freshman year,” said Caruso.
Women in the United States who attend college are more likely to be victims of sexual assault than women who does not attend college.
An estimated one out of five women who attends college will be sexually assaulted during her time there.
41% of the four-year colleges and universities in this country have not initiated a sexual assault investigation in the past five years
The authors of this bill think that shows some serious under-reporting.
If the Campus Accountability and Safety Act is passed, the Federal Department of Education will create a mandatory, annual survey of students to see how many sexual assaults happened at each school. Schools face a monthly $150,000 fine if they don’t administer the survey.
College campuses reported nearly 5,000 forcible sex offenses in 2012. New York colleges reported 365 of them.
SUNY formally announced its full endorsement of the bill on Wednesday BuffaloNews.com.
NYLON West is New York Local Online News, a section of the GeneseeSun.com dedicated to uniting communities outside of Livingston County.