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SUNY Schools Adopt New Rules To Combat Sex Abuse

Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a comprehensive plan to combat sexual assault on all SUNY campuses.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a comprehensive plan to combat sexual assault on all SUNY campuses. Photo Credit: File

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new set of best practices on Thursday that will be implemented across all SUNY campuses to help combat sexual assault.

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.

"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. "It is time for New York to take what is a difficult, uncomfortable topic and lead the way, and that is exactly what this resolution passed by the SUNY Board of Trustees today will do. 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 for our children."

The SUNY Board also appointed Linda Fairstein to serve as a special adviser for the implementation of the sexual assault response and prevention policy.

Fairstein is one of America's foremost legal experts on crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence, including  25 years leading the Sex Crimes Unit of the District Attorney's Office in Manhattan.

Cuomo said he will work to have similar measures implemented on New York's private college campuses.

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