Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that the SUNY Board of trustees approved a statewide policy to combat sexual assault, which will establish a uniform set of practices throughout its 64 campuses, including SUNY Canton.
The resolution includes implementing a uniform, system-wide definition of consent that is required between participants before engaging in sexual activity; an immunity policy to protect students coming forward to report sexual assault; a statewide training program for campus police and administrators regarding how to address sexual assault incidents; a public campaign to increase awareness among students and parents; and a uniform Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights that will, in clear and specific language, inform a student of his or her rights following an attack including the option of approaching State Police.
“SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall said it best when he noted that keeping our students safe is our number one priority,” said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran. “Having uniform policies and a standard definition of consent will help us educate our students about making the safe, and ultimately right, decisions. Over the next few weeks, we will be promoting a campus-wide campaign involving students, faculty, staff, and alumni aimed at increasing sexual assault awareness, education and prevention.”
SUNY Canton already meets many of the criteria outlined by Gov. Cuomo and SUNY. The college plans to adopt the new measures outlined in the new policy.
SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, “SUNY is committed to providing the best tools, resources, and services for students to protect them from sexual assault and support them in the event that an incident does occur. Governor Cuomo has helped us develop a comprehensive plan for increased awareness and police training that will complement our existing efforts and enhance our national leadership role in combating sexual assault and violence. We are proud to implement this new policy in partnership with the governor and the presidents at each of our 64 college and university campuses across New York State.”
Campus sexual assault prevention measures on a national level have also gained momentum. Szafran represented SUNY in August during an announcement of support for the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, a bill co-sponsored by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, which strengthens accountability for institutions nationwide in reporting sexual violence on campus, among other measures.
About SUNY Canton
SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management and public service. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as eight exclusively online bachelor’s degrees. The college’s 14 athletic teams compete as provisional members of the NCAA Division III and the USCAA.