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Legislative Memo: In Support of Responding to Sexual Violence on College Campuses

June 15, 2015

A.8244 (Glick) / S.5965 (LaValle)

Position: SUPPORT

Sexual violence on college and university campuses is a serious and complex problem that has too often been addressed through dysfunctional campus disciplinary processes that fail to offer a just outcome for both accuser and accused.

Following a number of high-profile cases, Governor Cuomo and lawmakers in New York met with survivors and their advocates, held roundtable discussions to hear concerns from a wide variety of stakeholders, and worked hard to craft strong legislation to address the problem. The extensive discussions around this bill have resulted in a set of fair and effective measures to combat the very serious problem of sexual violence on campus.

NYCLU is pleased to support this legislation, and urges lawmakers to pass it.

The bill contains a number of important measures to combat sexual violence on college and university campuses, most notably:

  • Rigorous “onboarding” education for incoming students aimed at preventing sexual violence;
  • A clear requirement that students engaging in sexual activity have obtained affirmative consent for such activity from their partners;
  • A strong set of rights and resources for students who experience domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and sexual assault;
  • Requirements to assure a fair and impartial process to adjudicate allegations of misconduct;
  • Strong confidentiality and privacy protections for those who report incidents of sexual violence;
  • Amnesty from discipline related to campus rule violations for students who witness and report incidents of sexual misconduct;
  • A requirement that colleges and universities undertake bi-annual “campus climate assessments” to determine how well students understand campus policies on sexual violence; and
  • Funding for community-based rape crisis programs.

We urge lawmakers to swiftly approve A.8244/S.5965.

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