Cuomo Orders SUNY to Adopt ‘Yes Means Yes’ Policy on Campus Sex
Oct 3, 2014
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has instructed the State University of New York to overhaul its approach to preventing sexual assault, including by making “affirmative consent” the rule on all 64 of the system’s campuses, The New York Times reports.
Mr. Cuomo announced the change at a news conference in Manhattan and said it would be put into effect within the next 60 days.
The affirmative-consent standard, also referred to as “yes means yes,” will put New York on the same path as California in dealing with sexual assault on college campuses. California’s governor signed into law this week a bill that requires colleges there that receive state funds to adopt that standard.
Previously, SUNY’s campuses have each crafted their own sexual-assault policies without regard for the policies on the other campuses. Many of them already require some form of affirmative consent, but often with varying degrees of specificity.
Cuomo Orders SUNY to Overhaul Its Sexual Assault Rules
By ARIEL KAMINER
OCT. 2, 2014
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Thursday that he had instructed the State University of New York to overhaul its approach to preventing, investigating and prosecuting sexual assault, including making affirmative consent the rule on all 64 of its campuses.
Mr. Cuomo, announcing the change at a news conference in Manhattan, said SUNY’s new approach, which is to be put into effect in the next 60 days, would eventually lead to a statewide law regulating sexual assault policies at all New York colleges and universities.
Calling campus sexual assault a national epidemic, the governor said: “This is Harvard and Yale and Princeton, Albany and Buffalo and Oswego. It is not SUNY’s problem by origination. I would suggest it should be SUNY’s problem to solve and SUNY’s place to lead.”
SUNY’s approach resembles that recently set by California, by defining consent as an affirmative act, in which both partners must express their desire to engage in each sexual act. Previous consent is not sufficient, and people who are physically helpless, mentally incapacitated or asleep are considered unable to consent at all.
“Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary,” the SUNY rules will say. “Consent is active, not passive.
Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent.”
Consent need not be verbal, but it must be unambiguous and mutual. “Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity,” the rules will say.
The proposed changes also include a Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights, a simple and widely distributed document to inform victims of their right to go to the police, as well as campus security, with complaints; a promise of immunity for students who report sexual assault but who might have been violating laws or campus rules, like the prohibition on under-age drinking; a statewide program to train college officials on how to prevent assaults and respond to them when they do occur; and an education campaign for students and parents alike.
The consent policy alone represents a major change, not just in sexual dynamics but also in dynamics among SUNY campuses, which until now have been left to hammer out their own sexual assault policies without regard for the policies at the other 63 schools. Many of them already require some form of affirmative consent, but often with varying degrees of specificity.
At SUNY Adirondack, a community college in Queensbury, consent is defined in a single paragraph — and further distilled to this concise bottom line: “Clear, unambiguous and voluntary agreement between the
participants to engage in specific sexual activity.”
At SUNY Brockport, the document defining the college’s interpretation runs across pages, with 21 bullet points. Brockport offers students tips like “Good suggestions for gaining consent” (“Is it O.K. if I take off my pants?”) and “the ‘Dude’ Routine,” a way to check in on friends you fear may need assistance at a party. “Knock or slightly open a closed door and with any excuse starting with ‘dude’ (it somehow makes it more believable) to check the situation,” the guide advises. “ ‘Dude, I thought this was the bathroom.’ ”
Linda Fairstein, the novelist and former sex crimes prosecutor, will serve as a special adviser to the university system while it puts the changes into effect.
SUNY encompasses almost a half-million students, at two-year community institutions and colleges with bachelor’s and graduate programs. Excluding the community colleges, the university reported 238 sexual assault complaints among 219,000 students during the 2013-14 academic year.
To explain the need for these policies, Mr. Cuomo — who pointed out that he is the father of three girls — cited statistics on how many college women are victimized and how many do not report the assaults, and called the numbers “breathtaking.”
The controversy over Gov. Cuomo's defunct corruption-fighting commission is taking a deep bite out of his poll numbers -- and New Yorkers are now more likely to say he's part of the ethics problem than the solution, a Quinnipiac survey out Wednesday finds.
Fully half of voters in the new poll say they disapprove of the way the incumbent Democrat is handling government ethics, while only 39% say he's doing the right thing
The BBC Pop Up team has spent all of September living in a house right on the edge of the Boulder campus of Colorado University. The issue of sexual assaults at US colleges was raised repeatedly by students we met.
It is a national problem, with studies showing that one in five women will be victims during their time at university.
And it is a serious problem at CU-Boulder too. The college is on the White House's list of schools suspected of Title IX violations - that's a law guaranteeing that women in federally-funded universities won't face discrimination due to their gender.
Over 70 schools, including CU-Boulder, are accused of have improperly dealt with sexual assault cases, and are now the target of a federal investigation.
While sexual assault is not a problem specific to fraternities, studies have shown that on college campuses, men who join a fraternity are three times more likely to rape than other men.
The White House launched a campaign last week called "It's On Us". The initiative is aimed at encouraging male students to intervene to stop abusive behaviour.
Will curbing fraternity culture help prevent college rapes? Or are they easy targets for a more complex problem?
Benjamin Zand investigated the role fraternity culture plays in sexual assault at CU-Boulder.
Despite the souring views of his ability to muck out the Albany cesspool, Cuomo is still wrecking all challengers in the Democratic primary and November general election, Quinnipiac found in the latest survey.
It is a national problem, with studies showing that one in five women will be victims during their time at university.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics' "Violent Victimization of College Students" report tells a different and more plausible story about campus culture. During the years surveyed, 1995-2002, the DOJ found that there were six rapes or sexual assaults per thousand per year. Across the nation's four million female college students, that comes to about one victim in forty students. Other DOJ statistics show that the overall rape rate is in sharp decline: since 1995, the estimated rate of female rape or sexual assault victimizations has decreased by about 60 percent.
Of course, there are still far too many college women who are victims of sexual assault. But there's little evidence to support the claim that campus rape is an "epidemic," as Yale student activist Alexandra Brodsky recently wrote in the Guardian.
Bolstered by inflated statistics and alarmist depictions of campus culture, advocates have been successful in initiating policy changes designed to better protect victims of sexual violence. Duke, Swarthmore, Amherst, Emerson and the University of North Carolina are among the many institutions that have recently reviewed and revised their policies. It is not clear that these policies have made campuses safer places for women, but they have certainly made them treacherous places for falsely accused men.
Police arrest UC Berkeley student in sexual assault reported at fraternity
By Natalie Neysa Alund and Karina Ioffee
Bay Area News Group
BERKELEY -- A 20-year-old UC Berkeley student has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a woman at a fraternity house last weekend, police said Friday.
Eugene Quillen, 20, who police said lives at the Delta Upsilon fraternity in the 2400 block of Warring Street, was arrested Thursday night, Berkeley Police Department Lt. Ed Spiller said.
Police did not say where the alleged assault took place, only that it occurred on Sept. 27 at a fraternity south of campus. The victim was intoxicated at the time of the assault, according to police.Quillen was jailed on $100,000 bail on Friday.
The arrest comes on the heels of two other reported sexual assaults that took place Sept. 27 -- also at two south-of-campus fraternities, Spiller said.
The other two attacks remained under investigation on Friday.
UC Berkeley police released few details about the attacks, declining to reveal the age and sex of the victims or to say whether they are students. UC Berkeley Police Lt. Eric Tejada said the Berkeley Police Department is handling the incidents because they occurred off-campus. On Friday, fraternity houses on Piedmont Avenue blared music as bare-chested young men lounged on their front decks, chatting with friends and visitors.
Maddie Green, 19, who was visiting one of the fraternities, said she hadn't heard about the incidents, but wasn't too worried for her own safety.
"I just make sure to get my own drink and not drink too much," she said. "You have to be smart about it."
Jessica Tarlton, 21, said she had heard about the recent incidents, but thought that sororities and other campus groups were proactive in preventing assaults.
"You hear sororities tell their members all the time to go in groups and be careful with drinks," she said. "They do a lot to make sure students stay safe."
In its statement, campus police also asked students not to leave drinks unattended and to be wary of accepting drinks from people they don't know well. They also said that if someone starts to exhibit symptoms of being dosed with a date-rape drug they should seek medical help immediately. Signs include dizziness and nausea, memory loss, breathing and motion difficulties, and acting disproportionately intoxicated relative to the amount of alcohol consumed.
Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a new bill requiring sexual partners on college campuses to give "affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement," meaning that a "yes" by someone who is drunk or drugged does not count as consent. The bill will also require colleges to provide victims with confidential reporting, counseling and access to a victim advocates.
You always had a problem with studies, statistics, evidence, facts......you always like to impose your own twisted definition, for whatever reason, instead of looking at something for what it is.
Another sexual assault reported at Stonehill College
By Trisha Thadani
October 02, 2014
Another woman at Stonehill College in Easton has come forward to report that she was sexually assaulted by a fellow student on two separate occasions.
It was the second report this week of a sexual assault at the school and added to a string of similar allegations at campuses around the state recently, authorities said.
Stonehill College Police Chief Peter Carnes issued a statement Wednesday evening notifying students that a woman reported Tuesday that she had been sexually assaulted on two occasions about four weeks ago in a residence hall.
The alleged victim said she knew the student who assaulted her, but “she has chosen to exercise her right not to provide the accused student’s name at this time,” according to the statement.
RELATED: Student reports sexual assault at Stonehill College
Martin McGovern, a Stonehill spokesman, said the notification by police was issued in compliance with the Clery Act, which requires colleges and universities to issue timely warnings about crimes such as sexual assaults that present a serious continuing threat to students and employees.
“Ultimately, we felt it was important to give our students as much information as possible in these cases,” McGovern said.
In a separate case, another female student told campus police Sunday that she had been attacked at about 2 a.m. that day on a pathway at the college, McGovern said.
“A criminal investigation [for Sunday’s report] is active and ongoing, and there have been no major developments,” McGovern said.
A number of sexual assaults have been reported recently on campuses around the state.
Bridgewater State University officials were sharply criticized Wednesday for their decision to keep quiet about two alleged rapes that occurred there in September.
Sexual assaults have also been reported in the past two weeks at Framingham State University, Massasoit Community College, Curry College, and Worcester State University.