Legislation to curb sexual assault on college campuses in New York is set to become law. Governor Andrew Cuomo had introduced the bill in January 2015.
The “Enough is Enough” bill encourages victims of sexual assault on campus to report the incident and bolsters support services for victims. Significantly, the legislation adopts a statewide affirmative consent definition for college campuses. Following in California’s footsteps, the New York legislation defines consent as a:
“knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity” and specifies that “consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity.”
The bill also includes:
- A statewide amnesty policy to ensure students reporting incidents of sexual assault will not face discipline for otherwise violating the college’s code of conduct, including any drug or alcohol policy;
- A Students’ Bill of Rights, which must be distributed to all students, identifying students’ rights, including the right to report such incidents to outside law enforcement, and how students may access resources;
- Comprehensive training requirements for students, faculty, staff, and administration; and
- Reporting requirements for secondary institutions to report annually data on the number of reported sexual assaults along with their adjudication.
The bill also creates a new unit within the New York State police department: the “sexual assault victims unit.” The unit would specialize in handling sexual assault and providing assistance to campus police. Finally, a commitment of $10 million has been pledged in the legislation to help combat campus sexual assault.
Except for the affirmative consent definition included in the bill, much of the legislation builds upon the requirements of the Campus SaVE Act, which was part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2013. Secondary schools have until July 1, 2015, to finalize policies and procedures to comply with Campus SaVE. Now, secondary schools in New York State also must revise their policies to comply with “Enough is Enough.”