January 17, 2015
ALBANY, NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo wants all colleges in New York State, to enforce the rules that SUNY colleges already have, in regards to sexual consent. The governor says that the proposal would codify a sexual assault prevention and response policy previously adopted by the State University of New York in order to protect students at all colleges and universities, public and private, in New York State.
“SUNY did it. When SUNY does it, it does it at a large school and when SUNY can do it, any school can do it,” said Governor Cuomo.
“The law basically has four points. First, that the consent must be affirmative. It’s not a burden on the woman to say ‘no’ and then have to defend whether or not she said no. It has to be an affirmative consent by the woman. That’s what they mean by yes means yes. The female has to affirmatively consent to any sexual acts.
Second, the victim will be given a bill of rights that informs the victim of their rights which says you have options. You could either speak at the local campus authorities or you can speak to the local police department, or you can go to the State Police of the State of New York. This is important because sometimes the attitude locally is “let’s believe this didn’t happen and let’s do what we can to make the problem go away.” So we want the victim to have options. The police, or State Police, who, you have my word, will handle this professionally and will understand who the victim really is and who the perpetrator is and will do everything they can do investigate the case properly.
Third, we have amnesty for the victim or for bystanders for related offenses. One thing that often happens is alcohol may have been involved, or drugs may have been involved and then the victim is in the situation where she may be subject to other charges for alcohol or drugs. And one of the things that I believe is actually used against a woman is “well they were serving alcohol and they weren’t supposed to be serving alcohol. “Well we understand there were drugs at the party and you may have done drugs so therefore you may have liability in this issue.” To compare those two things is night and day, so this law will provide amnesty to the victim or the bystander for any related offenses, which I believe are tactics from stopping the victim from coming forward and pursuing her rights, so amnesty will be part of this bill.
The fourth point will be training all cross the board, so campus administrators know all about this law and know the rights of victims and are informing the victims of their rights and certainly are not doing anything to discourage the victim from enforcing and pursuing her rights.