New York Lawmakers Agree on Campus Sexual Assault Policies

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York and other legislators agreed this week on a bill that would set rules for how all public and private colleges handle sexual assault on campuses, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education and The New York Times.

The legislation would extend to private colleges a version of Cuomo's "Yes Means Yes" policy imposed last fall on State University of New York campuses. It has the support of the State Senate's and State Assembly's leadership but still faces votes in both chambers.

As reported in the Times, the legislation would establish a statewide definition of "affirmative consent" and define consent as a "knowing, voluntary and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity."

Cuomo's plan calls for establishing a new unit in the State Police to help work with campuses on rape cases. The bill also requires campuses to distribute information material to students, explaining where to report sexual assault and that they will be granted immunity for certain campus rule violations, including drug use, in that context.   

The legislation, Cuomo said in a statement, is "a major step forward to protect students from an issue that has been plaguing schools nationwide for far too long." 


Related Links

The Chronicle of Higher Education

The New York Times