TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Another serious charge levied against Hudson Valley Community College after multiple women sat down with NEWS10 ABC in exclusive interviews claiming the school swept their rape cases under the rug, a third student is now coming forward with similar allegations.
“One guy stuck his hand down his pants and winked at me. I felt like an animal in a cage,” A student, who wished to remain anonymous, said.
The former Hudson Valley student agreed to share her story after hearing NEWS10 ABC’s coverage.
The student said she was stalked and harassed by a group of men who taunted her with sexually aggressive comments and gestures.
“It was at least twice a week. It was constant. It was a big group of guys, probably about ten of them, and it totally got in the way of my education.”
Retired Troy Police Captain John Cooney reaffirmed that the college has an obligation to present students with the option of reporting these crimes to police.
“The message has to be clear. There is another option here. We can do both options that’s important too. We can go to the police and we can work within the college procedure.”
The student said she was not even presented with reporting the incident to police as an option.
What happened next is similar to the accounts of the other students who told NEWS10 ABC about their cases. After setting up a meeting with the vice president of student affairs, the student was surprised to walk into a room full of six school officials.
“I felt ambushed. My impression is that I was going to be talking to someone about a problem with campus culture that he needed to fix and instead it felt like I was going on trial.”
Cooney says that practice is “beyond an acceptable norm.”
“Disclosing facts involving sexual gestures or worse yet sexual acts forced upon you and your first contact with your tribunal so to speak is five or six people in a room? That is just an absolute and unacceptable victim interaction.”
After multiple attempts to contact school officials for an on-camera interview, NEWS10 ABC’s Lexi Nahl went to the president of the college but was told to speak to public relations. The public relation’s department provided a copy of an email from the president that says “we make it very clear that each student has the right to report to local law enforcement.”
The school said in an email that the personnel involved in student meetings, that room full of six officials, are each there to provide support to the student.
NEWS10 ABC has reached out to the SUNY Chancellor’s office for more information on the process.