Monday, March 15, 2010

Help Create CUNY-wide sexual-assault policy for half-a-million people

Monday, March 15, 2010
4:30pm - 6:00pm
The College of Staten Island, Center for the Arts – Recital Hall
2800 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, NY


Did you know that City University of NY (CUNY) does not have a university-wide sexual assault policy for it's half-a-million students?  YOU CAN HELP CHANGE THAT BY COMING TO THE FOLLOWING PUBLIC FORUM OR CONTACTING US ABOUT HOW ELSE TO HELP.  

CUNY Central is ready to present a proposed policy to the Board of Trustees for approval in April. However, a large group of us, including elected officials* feel that the policy lacks two vital components - –
1. clearer language about mandatory education and
2. anonymous reporting. **

CUNY Board of Trustees public hearing on Monday, May 15, 4:30pm-6pm. If you wish to speak during the Staten Island borough hearing, please call the Office of the Secretary of the Board at (212) 794-5450 by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 12, 2010. However, you can just attend without having to call ahead.

The City University of New York
Annual Staten Island
Borough Hearing
The College of Staten Island
2800 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10314
Center for the Arts – Recital Hall
The Board of Trustees of The City University of New York welcomes testimony and statements from concerned individuals about University issues.


Since 2008, I have been 1 of 5 students on a CUNY-wide taskforce of 12 to create this policy, which includes CUNY’s General Counsel staff, the Council of Presidents, Student Development personnel, faculty and staff researchers, and Public Safety.

Clear language about mandatory education is the most important component of the policy; without it, the implementation will be just as ineffective as the CUNY-wide sexual-harassment policy, which is one of the strongest on paper. Currently, the harassment education involves a 10-minute online quiz a student takes once during freshman orientation (during their entire college education). The student can just go back and change the answers if she/he marks an incorrect response. At a recent CUNY college orientation about sexual harassment, the education involved a true/false quiz, and the faculty member giving the orientation used inappropriate, victim-blaming language. Obviously, the lack of concrete language in the CUNY-wide harassment policy resulted in colleges not enforcing the mandatory education component.

I appreciate the legal concerns involved with making provision for anonymous reporting, but the best sexual-assault policies, in different types of institutions across the country, offer anonymous reporting to alleged victims. For instance, the military has been successfully using anonymous reporting to mitigate the potential fear and shame attendant upon reporting sexual assaults. As you may already know, most college campuses have historically under-reported incidents of sexual assault. Recent estimates suggest that 90% of sexual assault go unreported to law enforcement officials, a situation that further ostracizes victims.

*elected officials such as Congresswoman Maloney, NYS State Senator Liz Krueger, and Assemblymember and chair to the Higher Ed Committee Deborah Glickstein, and organizations like NOW, Feminist Majority, etc.

**These are the two key issues we have been adamant about from the beginning. In fact, I was one of two students who started this whole process in 2008 by approaching CUNY Central, and my interest began in wanting to have mandatory prevention education on campus.

We are happy to meet with ANYONE appropriate to discuss why these issues are so important and to answer any questions/concerns.

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