Protecting College Students

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Governor Cuomo’s “Enough is Enough” legislation marks a critical step in the battle against sexual assault. Aimed at protecting college students in both public and private campuses, the bill makes New York only the second state in the nation to pass this type of law.

In order to reorient the approach to sex between college students and the ways to respond to sexual assault, “Enough is Enough” standardizes the definition of “affirmative consent,” as a “knowing, voluntary and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity.” The bill also requires campuses to distribute to all students a Students’ Bill of Rights notifying victims of both their rights and resources for help in sexual assault cases. In addition, the bill establishes a statewide amnesty policy that gives students reporting cases of sexual assault immunity for campus policy violations and institutes a unit within the state police to work with colleges.

As a proud parent of a young lady who will be entering college this fall and an elected official, I applaud state lawmakers for taking a firm stance on this problem. Their willingness to enact legislation on behalf of our students not only acknowledges the pervasive threat sexual assault poses, but also shows that members of both parties can come together to address pressing social problems. By defining affirmative consent, obliging all New York college campuses to distribute a Bill of Rights to students, and establishing a relationship between state police and campuses, this law will facilitate and standardize the mechanisms by which sexual assault cases are handled, protecting the rights of both reporting individuals and respondents. “Enough is Enough” will distinguish New York as a leader in the effort to reduce the occurrence of sexual assault on campuses. I am optimistic that this legislation will raise awareness and help protect our sons and daughters from a problem plaguing college campuses nationwide.

For more information, please visit www.nytimes.com/2015/06/17/nyregion/new-yorks-lawmakers-agree-on-campus-sexual-assault-laws.html?_r=0 or http://observer.com/2015/06/cuomos-campus-sexual-assault-bill-to-become-a-law/.

Councilwoman Anna Kaplan, District 4

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