CUNY Board Approves New Policy To Protect and Help Sexual Assault Victims.

July 20, 2010

The City University of New York Board of Trustees has approved a new policy to assist and protect student victims of sexual assault, stalking and domestic and intimate partner violence.

The policy includes new and comprehensive guidelines for students and counselors, establishes disciplinary procedures, creates on-campus advocates for victims, provides education and training for faculty and staff, and ensures assistance for students in obtaining medical care and counseling, among other initiatives.

In approving the new policy, the Trustees noted that in order to maintain a safe environment “it is critical to provide an appropriate prevention education program and have trained professionals to provide vital supportive services.”

The Board approval is the culmination of a two-year effort by a CUNY-wide Sexual Assault Task Force convened by Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs Frederick P. Schaffer and comprised of CUNY students, faculty members, counselors, members of campus Women’s Centers, administrative staff and attorneys who worked to formulate the comprehensive policy. 

Dr. Katie Gentile, Director of the Women’s Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, whose research deals with on-campus sexual violence nationally, was a leading member of the Task Force.

“A handful of super-active students, including Elischia Fludd of John Jay College, and Jerin Alam, former head of Hunter College Women’s Rights Organization, and members of campus Women’s Centers, have been agitating for a while for the need for such a policy and they worked on the Task Force, “ said Gentile.”It was needed in order to develop and implement standardized procedures for dealing with the issues and training people who help students who are victims of such violence.”

Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said: “We want all victims of sexual assault, stalking and domestic and intimate partner violence to know that the University has professionals and law enforcement officers who are trained in the field to assist student victims in obtaining help, including immediate medical care, counseling and other essential services.”

The goals of the policy are:

* Providing clear and concise guidelines for students to follow in the event that they or someone they know have been the victim of a sexual assault, domestic/intimate partner violence, or stalking.

• Assisting victims of sexual assault or abuse in obtaining necessary medical care and counseling, whether on or off campus.

• Providing the most informed and up-to-date education and information to its students about how to identify situations that involve sexual assault, domestic and intimate partner violence, or stalking, and ways to prevent these forms of violence.

 • Educating and training all faculty and staff members, including counselors, public safety officers and student affairs staff and faculty, to assist victims of sexual assault, domestic/intimate partner violence, or stalking.

 • Ensuring that disciplinary procedures are followed in the event that the alleged perpetrator is a CUNY student or employee.

The procedures for reporting incidents of sexual assault and other forms of violence, will include different points of on-campus contact for students, faculty and staff, including the Public Safety Department, the Women’s/Men’s Centers and Counseling Departments  and/or the Dean of Student Development/Student Affairs.  Each provides different forms of assistance and together address many of the needs of survivors of such violence.

Students who have been victims of such assault are urged to contact law enforcement personnel immediately and to seek immediate medical attention.  They will also be provided an on-campus advocate to help them handle the various aspects of their follow-up ordeal.

The president and vice president for student affairs/student development of each college are responsible for implementing the policy.  CUNY’s Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs will monitor compliance with the policy and procedures at all of the colleges.

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