Governor Cuomo, Majority Leader Flanagan and Speaker Heastie Announce Agreement on “Enough Is Enough” Legislation to Combat Sexual Violence on College Campuses, Safe Campus NY

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie today announced that a three-way agreement has been reached on the “Enough is Enough” legislation to combat sexual assault on college campuses in New York State.

“Today is a victory for students across New York State,” Governor Cuomo said. “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. This action is a major step forward to protect students from an issue that has been plaguing schools nationwide for far too long. Once again, New York is setting the standard for other states to follow, and I look forward to signing this legislation into law as soon as possible.”

Senate 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 thank Senator Ken LaValle for his hard work on this issue, as well as Governor Cuomo and Speaker Heastie, and 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.”

Senator Ken LaValle, Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee said, “We have approached this sensitive topic in a comprehensive, thoughtful manner. This legislation provides critically important protections for victims and details the processes necessary to achieve fair and just results for those involved. The measure provides a clear path to combat and eradicate campus sexual assault and a course of action for the victims of these devastating incidents. It provides for education of all college students; recommends methods of prevention, and provides assurance of due process in the adjudication of these incidents. This legislation addresses the complex issues and will better protect our college students across the state.”

Assemblymember Glick, Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee said, “Campus sexual assault greatly diminishes a positive college experience and can have lasting effects on victims. I commend my colleagues for recognizing the importance of this issue and taking steps to protect all students, including those of the LGBT community, from the horrors of rape, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.”

This on-campus sexual assault prevention and response legislation was first proposed by Governor Cuomo in January. The package includes:

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; and
A requirement for first responders to notify survivors of their right to contact outside law enforcement.

Throughout the last several months, Governor Cuomo led the ‘Enough is Enough’ campaign to gather support for his proposal. Since January, it gained a broad range of support from public officials, organizations and community groups, including:

Lady Gaga, who also co-authored an op-ed with the Governor;
17 of 18 county executives statewide;
Whoopi Goldberg, who also filmed a video for the campaign;
More than 40 city mayors from across the state;
More than 100 elected officials from across the state;
Nearly 20 members of New York’s Congressional Delegation;
More than 50 statewide and local organizations, in addition to 30 advocacy groups, community organizations and unions and 14 labor groups;
28 public safety officials from across the state;
Student advocates from Barnard College and Syracuse, Columbia, Fordham and New York Universities; and
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

Governor Cuomo, Majority Leader Flanagan and Speaker Heastie Announce Agreement on _Enough Is Enough_ Legislation to Combat Sexual Violence on College Campuses _ Governor Andrew M