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Wednesday, June 17, 2015
ENP STAFF REPORTS
news@eastniagarapost.com


Andrew Cuomo
ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Sen. Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie reached an agreement Tuesday on the “Enough is Enough” legislation to combat sexual assault on college campuses in New York State.

Cuomor called it "a victory for students across New York State,” adding, “as the Governor, and as a father, I am proud that with this legislation New York will become a national leader in the fight against sexual assault on college campuses."

He said the legislation will "protect students from an issue that has been plaguing schools nationwide for far too long."

Cuomo campaigned across the state and in the media for the bill's passage, rallying other government officials, organizations, community groups and celebrities to take up the torch for the bill. Among those who did include 17 of 18 county executives statewide; more than 40 mayors across the state — including Lockport Mayor Anne McCaffrey; 28 public safety officials across the state — including Niagara County Sheriff Jim Voutour; nearly 20 members of the state's congressional delegation; House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi; student advocates; nearly 100 statewide and local organizations, advocacy groups and labor groups; actress Whoopi Goldberg, who filmed a video for the campaign; and Lady Gaga, who also co-authored an op-ed with Cuomo.

Sen. Majority Leader John Flanagan said, “I am pleased and proud that working together we have reached a consensus on a bill to combat and root out sexual assault so our college campuses are safe learning environments for all students. ... I commend my colleagues and the advocates for helping us achieve a positive result on this extraordinarily important piece of legislation.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, “Every student deserves the opportunity to obtain a higher education in a safe and supportive environment. Campus sexual assault disrupts victims’ lives and shifts their focus away from their studies. This plan encourages victims to speak up and provides a uniform policy for handling accusations throughout all New York State colleges, as well as bolsters support services for victims of this heinous act. New York must continue to lead the way in the fight against campus sexual assault.”

Specifics of the legislation as proposed by Gov.Cuomo in January, include:
  • A statewide definition of affirmative consent, defining consent as a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity
  • A statewide amnesty policy, to ensure that students reporting incidents of sexual assault or other sexual violence are granted immunity for certain campus policy violations, such as drug and alcohol use
  • A Students’ Bill of Rights, which campuses will be required to distribute to all students in order to specifically inform sexual violence victims of their legal rights and how they may access appropriate resources. The Bill of Rights clearly states that students are given the right to know they can report sexual assaults to outside law enforcement, including the State Police
  • Comprehensive training requirements for administrators, staff, and students, including at new student orientations
  • Reporting requirements for campuses to annually submit aggregate data on reported incidents of sexual violence and their adjudication and handling to the State Education Department
  • A new unit within the State Police called the “sexual assault victims unit” specialized in advanced training in responding to sexual assaults and related crimes that shall also provide assistance to campus police or local law enforcement, as well as training to college campus communities
  • A commitment of $10 million to help combat campus sexual assault through various partners, split in the following manner: $4.5 million to rape crisis centers to provide services and resources to students, $4.5 million to the State Police to create sexual assault victims unit, and $1 million to colleges and universities
  • A requirement for first responders to notify survivors of their right to contact outside law enforcement



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