Governor Cuomo has taken action in recent months to combat the growing problems of sexual harassment and abuse on college and university campuses in New York State by enacting a new 24-hour hotline that will allow for reports of such abuse at any time of day.
The U.S. Department of Education has said that 388 rape offenses were reported in 2013 on New York State campuses. The department’s data has also shown that close to 95 percent of all crimes against women on college campuses go unreported, and that 90 percent of college rape is usually committed by only three percent of the university population. This implies that offenders often repeat their crimes, possibly because they feel like they can get away with it.
The 24-hour hotline will apply to the 463,000 students on all 64 state college campuses in New York. Currently, the hotline is only active for students attending public institutions, but Cuomo is pressuring the private universities to adopt the hotline and other new sexual assault preventative measures as well.
There are other new policies that Cuomo is enacting to help prevent sexual crimes among college students. For example, the governor is drafting a Sexual Violence Victim/Survivor Bill of Rights to inform students of their rights if these crimes occur.
A statewide amnesty policy will ensure that victims of sexual abuse or harassment cannot be prosecuted for underage drinking or being under the influence of any illegal drug at the time of the incident. This is a policy that already exists at SUNY Oneonta.
The governor hopes to create a plan that gives professors and campus staff intensive training on how to treat reports of sexual assault and rape on their campuses.
On SUNY Oneonta’s website you can find more information about sexual assault, what is defined as assault and the consequences of sexual crimes that might occur on campus. You can also talk with any member of the University Police or your Resident Director if you need any sort of help or support.
If you have been sexually harassed or assaulted on campus or know of someone who has been, the phone number for this new hotline is 1-844-845-7269.