Recommendations on how to enact on the CUNY Sexual Assault, Stalking and Domestic Violence Policy SGC put together:
- All CUNY institutes must perennially ensure the policy and procedures are being followed and observed by campus officials, evaluations are done yearly and student's feedback is taken consistently.
- Campuses should be able to clearly define domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking to its students.
- Access to the Policy
- CUNY should advertise the policy on their websites, and the policy must be sent to students and faculty via mass email.
- Students should be provided with up to date information. For instance, all incoming freshmen should be made aware of the policy during freshmen orientations and there should be tabling information/fliers/brochures in offices where students have access to it in places like, One Stop /Financial Aid/Admission/Freshmen Services etc.
- Institutes should also offer workshops once or twice every semester (besides orientations) to make sure that all students and faculty know and understand what their options are and are knowledgeable enough to prevent sexual assault, stalking and domestic violence all together, whether it is on or off campus.
- If CUNY budget allows, new faculty and interested students should be trained along with campus security personnel to effectively identify and respond to the crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, as these would be preventative measures.
- Prevention Education
- a) Nformd.net- Cost of program willing to be negotiated since SGC has had contact w/ company since the start of the policy taskforce b) UN Gender Module c) DOJ report & guidelines for implementing sexual assault policies d) Bystander training- CANNOT be the sole means of education but part of a comprehensive educational structure.
- CUNY centers should be able to provide services to survivors as a referral/resource center and open up campuses to outside service providers.
- The centers should make it easy for student victims to reach out to them and help victims with in a warm and endearing manner.
- Centers must provide an advocate/trained counselor/staff member who is trained in the topics of sexual assault/domestic violence/stalking. The trained expert should be able to build a relationship with the victim based on trust and accountability as it is vital in getting the victim started with the healing process.
- CUNY should work in collaboration with current victim service providers (Eg. RAINN, SART Teams, Safe Horizon, NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault) and also work in with law enforcement officials from local jurisdiction, and be able to address confidentiality of victims.
- CUNY institutes must continue to fund and expand services for survivors and keep an updated list of local and national resources that are available for students.
- Who investigates? a) No one person should investigate. Given current capacity of schools to provide adequate staff power, CUNY should consider at least a 6 person team to rotate cases and lessen burn out. b) Training of investigation team should be refreshed every semester with a mandatory training time to attend free city workshops to keep investigators abreast of new information. c) Sensitivity training, stalking, DV and sexual violence training necessary. Popular, cost effective and reputable places to seek are Safe Horizon, Connect NYC (free for orgs & other entities), NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence, NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault, Urban Justice Center, Men Can Stop Rape. SGC has contacts for most on the list and can connect CUNY.
- Timeframe of Investigations: a) Sexual Harassment investigations on campuses easily fail because students are waiting for months or even a school year
- b) Investigation should be between 3-6 months. In the interim - What to do with alleged victim and perpetrator?
- c) Give victim option to switch housing, schedule, etc., if he/she chooses. If not, perpetrator must switch.
- d) There must be an expressed consent form of notification of rights to victim and perpetrator alike.
- e) Consent form should include counseling info for victim and perpetrator & indicate that it is outside of the care & attention that the school pays to the investigation (the counseling & other outside services).
- f) Timeframe of investigation and rights according to investigation information should be expressed in the consent form. Names and other information of investigation team should be readily available within consent form.
- Sanctions of Perpetrator
- What is the spectrum of sanctions? I.E. If a student is sexually assaulted and bears no severe physical injury, does the proved perpetrator receive a suspension and removal from areas where the victim is
- Levels of discipline & sanctions appropriate for perpetrators of sexual assault, rape, IPV, DV & Stalking? What happens, as is statistically linked, if a victim experiences overlapping crimes?
- Combine sanctions for perpetrator and where dubious, choose a reasonable compromise between the sanctions.
- CUNY should be able to conduct research on service providers for special populations (Men, LGBTQI, immigrants, elderly / disabled
- Campuses must continue to make sure that all student voices are heard, especially the voice of a sexual assault victim or victims of other forms of violence as they have a distinctive understanding of violence.
- It is absolutely imperative to use the survivor's voices as guidance when reviewing the policy and procedures annually, and making recommendations and/or changes to the policy by CUNY Administrators (for e.g College President, Vice President, Dean of Students, and students represented from the student government).
In addition to the above, we have successfully submitted and have had additional national and state empirical data well received by Vice Chancellor Jordan, and have provided connections for administration to use as they continue to pass the torch and share responsibility for policy implementation.
What to do now?
Well, if you are a CUNY community member, continue to keep a watchful eye on your own actions and continue to educate yourself on sexual violence and prevention! The new policy allows for access to education and continual review boards to ensure implementations, but it is up to you to take on a level of responsibility for yourself and your community!
Below is the policy that was in effect as of July 1st :