Monday, March 30, 2009

SUPPORTER SPOTLIGHT: THE GRADUATE CENTER STUDENT UNION

The following support letter to the left of this page is from The Graduate Center Student Union (GCSU). The text of the letter is displayed below. The letter details how GCSU believes in the philosophy of Students for a Greater CUNY in creating an inclusive policy. The GCSU was formed as a result of the CUNY Social Forum that happened in the Fall of 2008. For further information on what GCSU is doing, how you can help and how to join, contact Stephen McFarland at stephenmcfarland@gmail.com.







March 13, 2009

Mr. Frederick P. Schaffer
Senior Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs and General Counsel
The City University of New York
535 East 80th Street
New York, NY 10075

Dear Senior Vice Chancellor Schaffer and members of the Sexual Assault Policy Taskforce,

As a member of the CUNY Graduate Center Student Union, I was gladdened to hear of the progress that the Task Force has made as of this week towards establishing as CUNY-wide, prevention-focused sexual assault policy. I am writing on behalf of our group in support of your continued efforts towards securing input and broad support for a sexual assault policy that will better ensure the rights and safety of students on all CUNY campuses.

The CUNY Student Union emerged from the organizing of the CUNY Social Forum, which brought more than 600 students, faculty, and community members together at City College in October 2008 for over 60 workshops and panel discussions on the history and future of student organizing at CUNY. Since the Forum, Student Union groups have formed at City College, Hunter, Queens College, and the Graduate Center, among other campuses, to resist budget cuts, tuition hikes and fee increases, to promote greater minority and working class accessibility to CUNY, to advocate for more democratic governance, and to organize student activity on other issues vital to CUNY students.

We see the efforts of Students for a Greater CUNY to enact a university-wide sexual assault policy as a vital part of an emerging student movement to make CUNY safer, more accessible, more affordable, and more responsive to student needs. The careful research that Students for a Greater CUNY has done shows that the university’s current patchwork system of sexual assault policies is not serving us well. SGC’s figures show that approximately 27% of female students on commuter campuses report being sexually assaulted in a given year. Yet in 2005, only 4 sex offenses were reported among the entire CUNY student body. Clearly, we need a transparent, prevention-based policy that is broadly publicized and addresses the needs and concerns of the diverse groups of people that make up the CUNY student body.

Our group will continue to follow the progress of the Task Force’s efforts through Students for a Greater CUNY’s tracker blog, cunypolicy.blogspot.com, and will urge our fellow Graduate Center students to join us in participating in the upcoming town hall meetings. We encourage you to continue your efforts with the utmost speed and diligence to ensure that all CUNY campuses have a sexual assault policy that will serve students well in the years to come.

Sincerely,
Stephen McFarland
on behalf of the Graduate Center Student Union


Become involved! Email us at cunypolicy08@gmail.com. We currently have an immediate need for:

* A skilled technician with software to make jpg files to post letters of support on the tracker
* A graphic arts designer to help our website designer
* Skilled media savvy persons to chronicle CUNY's progress for the students on campus blogs, radio and television.
* Organizations and individuals to endorse our cause (willing to sign a letter of support)
* Organizations and individuals to join Students for a Greater CUNY as a member

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