High-profile campus sexual assault cases are forcing colleges and universities across the country to reconsider how they deal with sexual violence. Now New York’s public university system is the latest to update its sexual assault policies.
“Yes means yes” is about to become the rule on SUNY campuses. Affirmative consent for sexual activity is one of the main points in SUNY’s new sexual assault policy.
SUNY Broome President Kevin E. Drumm says the affirmative consent part of the policy makes an unwritten rule explicit.
“I guess its been unspoken in the past that that was the standard everybody would look to,” Drumm says. “But now it’s going to be in writing and have some real teeth.”
Drumm says one thing might not change under the policy. That’s the number of students who feel comfortable reporting sexual assault.
“The policy helps us kind of after the fact,” he says.
Drumm says campus culture determines when students will go to the authorities. The rules do establish system-wide reporting policies for faculty and staff and training for security officers and administrators.
Governor Cuomo announced the new policies on Tuesday. Cuomo says he hopes to make SUNY’s sexual assault policy a state law to cover private colleges as well. If that happens, New York will be the second state to mandate affirmative consent statewide.