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SUNY system support bipartisan federal effort to crack down on college campus sexual assaults

NEW YORK, - U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was joined in her midtown office by State University of New York (SUNY) Commissioner of University Police Bruce McBride, SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran and other SUNY representatives – the largest university system in the country – in becoming the first university system to announce its support of bipartisan efforts to combat sexual assaults at colleges and universities by bolstering campus’ abilities to assist victims and foster a safe learning environment for students. Also supporting the effort are Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Leslie Crocker Snyder, the founder of the first sex crimes prosecution bureau in the country and the co-author of New York State’s rape shield law, in addition to several student survivors making their voices heard in support of the recently introduced bipartisan Campus Accountability and Safety Act.

The bipartisan bill supported by 8 Democratic and 7 Republican Senators is intended to confront a scourge of sexual violence against students on college campuses by protecting and empowering students, and strengthening accountability and transparency for institutions—including establishing stiff penalties for non-compliance with the legislation’s new standards for training, data and best practices. The legislation also calls for a groundbreaking anonymous annual survey of all students and colleges and universities to provide a complete picture of the sexual assault problem to students and parents.

“We should never accept the fact that women are at a greater risk of sexual assault as soon as they step onto a college campus. But today they are. And it has to end,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The best way to accomplish this goal is through transparency and accountability to flip the incentives that currently reward keeping sexual assault in the shadows.

“SUNY has a long and unwavering commitment to combating sexual assault and we strongly support Senator Gillibrand in her efforts to make this pressing issue a national priority just as we have done here in New York,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “With resources, training, expert and caring staff from law enforcement to attorneys to student affairs all working together to protect and assist students, SUNY can and should be a national model.