Governor Cuomo Announces Four-Point Plan to Reduce Sexual Violence in Educational Institutions as Part of 2021 Women’s Agenda

New York (STL.News) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a four-point plan to reduce sexual violence in educational institutions as part of the state’s 2021 Women’s Agenda.  As part of this plan, the Governor has directed SUNY and the state’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence – a newly reimagined agency proposed by the Governor in his 2021 State of the State – to establish an innovative hub to develop enforceable policies, trainings and outreach programs to combat and end sexual violence on college campuses.  SUNY’s Student Conduct Institute will also expand its existing resources and engagement to 1,000 institutions, and SUNY will make its Sexual & Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Response Course available to other colleges and universities across the nation, allowing them to benefit from New York’s leadership and program expertise on confronting sexual violence.  Additionally, SUNY will launch a new social and digital campaign to raise awareness about the signs of sexual assault and intimate partner violence and connect students to support services.  These new actions build on New York’s “Enough is Enough” legislation -the most aggressive policy in the nation to fight against sexual assault on college campuses – signed into law by the Governor in 2015.

“We’ve made significant strides in combating sexual violence on college campuses with aggressive measures that hold our colleges and universities to the highest possible standards,” Governor Cuomo said.  “As the world around us changes, we need to become more innovative in the way we approach education and awareness about sexual violence, and these new measures will expand our reach to even more students across the state and help make our colleges even safer.”

The Governor’s four-point plan includes:

National Hub for Policy Development: SUNY, in partnership with the newly transformed New York State Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, will establish the Center for Advanced Research in Reducing the Impact of Violence in Education – or ARRIVE – to oversee the development of enforceable policies, student-focused training and outreach programs to combat sexual violence on college campuses.  Trainings and programs developed by the Center will be adopted by all 89 SUNY and CUNY campuses in Fall 2021 and made available to thousands of professionals nation-wide through their membership in SUNY’s Student Conduct Institute.

Expanding the Reach of SUNY’s Student Conduct Institute Resources: SUNY’s Student Conduct Institute will continue to expand its resources and engagement.  While federal response to sexual and interpersonal violence has been inconsistent, the SUNY Student Conduct Institute has helped to position New York to lead the nation in its innovative approach to preparing schools to respond to sexual assault with high-quality training on due process, trauma-informed investigations and adjudications, questioning and weighing of evidence and other critical best practices in the investigation and conduct process that complies with relevant case law. SUNY’s Student Conduct Institute has grown to more than 420 colleges, universities and other organizations, including all SUNY and CUNY campuses.  Its member institutions educate more than three million college students nationwide.  By the start of the 2022 academic year, SUNY’s Student Conduct Institute will seek to expand to 1,000 institutions, ensuring at least five million college students nationwide can benefit from New York’s leadership and program expertise on confronting sexual violence.  More information and an application for institutional membership is available at system.suny.edu/sci/.

Releasing SUNY’s Nation-Leading Sexual & Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Response Course to More Colleges and Universities: SUNY will release its trauma-informed and survivor-centered Sexual & Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Response Course for free to any college or university across the country.  Originally developed in 2017, the course is a customizable online training system to assist colleges and universities in training students in the prevention of sexual, interpersonal and related violence.

Social and Digital Campaign to Raise Awareness: SUNY and the Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence will create and launch the “I’m Asking for a Friend” social and digital campaign to help students identify and prevent sexual assault and domestic or dating violence.  The campaign will also alert students of support services that are available.

Governor Cuomo has long been a champion of women’s rights and has fought tirelessly to address the root causes of domestic and sexual violence.  As part of his 2021 State of the State, the Governor put forth a comprehensive package of proposals to combat combat domestic and gender-based violence, including a proposal to transform the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence into a reimagined agency: Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, and will be tasked with addressing the intersection of the many forms of intimate partner violence, including domestic violence and sexual violence, in a survivor-centered manner.