ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A new statewide campaign is aimed at combatting rape and sexual assault on college and university campuses.
The campaign is called “Enough is Enough.” Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to use it to raise awareness and promote new legislation.
The measure would create uniform policies for how private colleges handle such incidents. Schools would be required to report sexual assault cases to outside law enforcement and adopt affirmative consent for sex.
Those policies were already enacted at SUNY campuses. SUNY officials said the policies have worked well.
“When we set out to create a uniform set of policies for every one of the SUNY campuses, believe it or not, some people were skeptical,” SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said. “They thought this would be onerous. They thought this would be disruptive. And I’m incredibly impressed with the way in which our campuses have adapted.”
Cuomo said eleven New York colleges are under federal investigation for mishandling sexual violence – more than any other state in the country.
“It is not a campus matter. It is not an academic matter,” he said. “If the woman is accusing the perpetrator of a possible crime, that’s a criminal matter.”
Cuomo explained that college officials are not criminal investigators, and the proposal could have national implications.
“It’s one of the uses of the bully pulpit of New York where we get up and we talk about it like marriage equality,” he said. “And as soon as you pose the question, there is no answer. Why would you allow young women to be abused on college campuses? Why?
As part of the campaign, the New York State Police announced a hotline dedicated to handling reports of sexual assaults on college and university campuses.
The number is 1-844-845-7269. It went live at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Specially trained NYSP members will be on call 24 hours a day to respond to sexual assault calls throughout the state.
Cuomo will need the support of the legislature to pass the initiative. It is unclear if he has that support.