Students from Barnard College, Columbia, Fordham, New York and Syracuse Universities Travel to Albany to Meet with the Lieutenant Governor Hochul and Lobby Legislators
Governor Cuomo announced that student advocates from several private universities, including Barnard College, Columbia University, Fordham University, New York University, and Syracuse University, have joined the Governor's Enough is Enough campaign to combat sexual assault on college campuses. The group represents the state’s larger student body, which would be directly impacted by the Governor’s policy and want to see it passed this year. Student survivors and activists have worked tirelessly to bring this issue to light and pressure schools to do more to keep students safe; now, these students will bring their first-hand experiences to the State Capitol, highlighting the urgency of this campaign and continuing to help shape the Governor’s proposal to ensure it will make all students in New York safer.
A group of student advocates will travel to Albany this week to meet with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and a number of legislators to push for the Enough is Enough campaign and advocate for critical changes to how sexual assault on college campuses is currently addressed. These students are working in collaboration with the Governor’s Office to ensure the proposal addresses on-the-ground challenges students face, including the need for stronger oversight, effective prevention programs, and fair and transparent procedures for responding to incidents of sexual assault. These provisions will make New York a national leader in the fight against on-campus sexual violence.
“Our students must feel that their college campuses are safe learning environments, and who better to help lead this fight than the students themselves,” Governor Cuomo said. “These student advocates are adding their voices to a broad coalition that is saying Enough is Enough and calling for this policy to be passed this year so that New York can lead the nation in the fight against sexual violence on college campuses. I applaud them for their dedication and for actively participating in this important process to make our colleges safer this year.”
“I moved to New York City to attend Columbia, my dream school--only to be sexually assaulted during my first year here. My whole college experience has been defined by this experience,” said Zoe Ridolfi-Starr, a senior at Columbia University and the co-director of the national student organization Carry That Weight. “By taking bold, decisive action to combat campus sexual violence, Governor Cuomo and our state’s legislators can help ensure that no other student in New York ever has to go through that pain. I am grateful that the Governor is working with us to improve how colleges handle sexual violence based on our experiences as students, and am proud to support this campaign.”
The student advocates’ support follows the 16 members of New York's Congressional Delegation, more than 100 elected officials from across the State, more than 40 city mayors, the 17 of 18 county executives and Whoopi Goldberg, for recently joining the Enough is Enough campaign. The campaign also has a video featuring students, advocates and elected officials supporting the Governor’s policy to address sexual assault on college campuses. The video can be viewed here.
Governor Cuomo launched the Enough is Enough campaign last month to build support for his proposal to implement uniform prevention and response measures to combat sexual assaults on all college and university campuses across the state. This policy has already been adopted by the State University of New York. The Governor’s proposal will extend the SUNY policy and protections to public and private colleges statewide to ensure the state’s 1.2 million college students are protected with comprehensive and uniform procedures and guidelines.
To promote the campaign and the importance of passing the Governor’s proposal, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul has embarked on a statewide tour to bring “Enough is Enough” to college campuses across the State. She is meeting with members of the student body, faculty and administration as well as service providers and advocates for survivors of rape and sexual assault.
More information about Enough is Enough is available at www.ny.gov/EnoughisEnough.
Sejal Singh, a student advocate and senior at Columbia University, said, “Every year, thousands of students are sexually assaulted in New York. Our colleges and Universities have repeatedly failed to keep us safe, so we need the state to guarantee strong oversight, as well as fair, transparent policies. New Yorkers need this policy, and we need it this year.”
Kulsoom Ijaz, a student advocate and third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, said, “Educational institutions offer students services; these services extend beyond coursework and extracurriculars - they extend to safety. We need legislation that is able to hold colleges and universities accountable to their students and ensure that no one feels unsafe in their learning environment. This bill can serve as a model for other states and address a nationwide issue.”
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