Monday, April 6, 2009

Pages 3&4 of the second draft of the CUNY-wide Sexual Assault Policy

The images to the left and right of the screen are the 3rd and 4th pages of the second draft of the CUNY-wide Sexual Assault policy. The texts of those pages are provided below.

A person is deemed incapable of giving consent if she/he is (a) under the age of 17, (b) mentally incapacitated (which may include incapacity due to the victim’s ingestion of alcohol or drugs), (c) physically disabled or (d) physically helpless (asleep, unconscious or for any other reason physically unable to communicate unwillingness to act, which may also include incapacity due to the victim’s ingestion of alcohol or drugs).

• Who is responsible for a sexual attack?

In the absence of consent, the attacker is always responsible for having committed the sexual assault regardless of the victim’s appearance, behavior, or conduct on previous occasions. An attacker cannot assume that the way a person dresses or acts is an invitation for sexual advances. A person may welcome some forms of sexual contact and be opposed to others. The more impaired a person is from alcohol or drugs, the less likely she/he can give consent; having sex with someone who is “passed out” or sleeping is rape. And regardless of previous sexual activity, if someone refuses sexual contact, the failure to respect that limit constitutes non-consensual sex.

• Who can prevent a sexual attack from occurring?

Every member of the CUNY community, by recognizing situations where sexual violence occurs, by acknowledging that anyone can be a victim of sexual assault, and by becoming active, positive and responsible community members who look out for other CUNY members.


Getting assistance after a sexual assault is extremely important and can involve different points of on-campus contact for students, faculty and staff, including Public Safety, Women’s Centers and Counseling Departments, or/and the Dean of Student Development/Student Affairs. Each provides different forms of advocacy which together address the many of the needs of survivors.

• Contact Law Enforcement Personnel Immediately

CUNY urges any student who has been the victim of a sexual assault, or any student or employee who has witnessed a sexual assault against a student, to immediately report the incident to the college Public Safety Department if the attack occurred on-campus, or to call 911 or go to the local NYPD precinct if the incident took place off-campus. See Attachment B for a list of Emergency Contact Numbers (on and off-campus).

• Seek Immediate Medical Attention

It is critical that the victim of a sexual assault receive comprehensive medical attention as soon as possible, and preserve evidence of the attack (i.e. do not shower and retain the clothing worn during the attack.) If a student believes that she/he may be the victim of date rape by being drugged, she/he should go directly to a hospital to receive a toxicology examination since such drugs only remain in a person’s system for a short period of time. In all other circumstances, public safety and police personnel can assist the victim in obtaining medical care. Attachment B provides a list of local hospitals, some of which are designated as SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner) hospitals that are specially equipped to handle sexual assaults. EMS will


ensure that the victim is brought to a SAFE hospital at the victim’s request. Medical attention is critical not only to treat internal and external injuries and to combat possibilities of sexually transmitted infections and/or pregnancy, but also to collect evidence that can be used against the perpetrator. It is also vital that the victim of a sexual assault receive emotional support and professional counseling as soon as possible.

• Seek On-Campus Assistance

The victim of a sexual assault will be provided with on-campus support in the form of an advocate from the Women’s Center or an appropriately trained counselor to assist the victim in handling the various aspects of his/her ordeal and to provide crisis intervention and/or ongoing counseling services.

When appropriate, CUNY encourages the victim (or her/his advocate on their behalf) to contact the Dean of Student Affairs/Student Development to obtain assistance in accessing medical and counseling services, or to make any necessary changes to the student’s academic program or residential housing situation. The victim can also file a complaint against a perpetrator who is a student or employee of the University with the Dean of Student Affairs/Student Development. The campus advocate can assist the student through the complaint process as well.

The University recognizes that confidentiality is a right of all victims and can be particularly important to victims of sex crimes. While complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, every effort will be made to maintain confidentiality on a “need to know” basis. Generally, the wishes of a victim not to report a sexual assault to the police will prevail, but the College reserves the right to notify the police when it believes that such reporting is necessary for the protection of the college community. Nevertheless, CUNY encourages victims in all circumstances to seek counseling in order to speak confidentially with a professional about her/his options and to begin the recovery period.

• Handling Sexual Assault Complaints On-Campus
The Colleges shall act promptly in response to information that a student has been sexually assaulted by another member of the CUNY community. Upon receipt of a sexual assault complaint, the College shall undertake an appropriate investigation. If it appears that there is sufficient evidence to warrant disciplinary charges against a student or staff member, such charges shall be brought pursuant to the appropriate University procedures or collective bargaining agreement. If the perpetrator is a student and the matter is brought before a hearing, the victim and alleged assailant are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present and to be informed of the outcome of the proceedings. The victim is entitled to a report of the results of the proceeding at her/his request. In certain circumstances, if there is a criminal action pending against the alleged student perpetrator, the College reserves the right to suspend the student and hold disciplinary charges against him/her in abeyance until the disposition of the criminal case. If a student is found guilty of committing a sexual assault against another CUNY student or employee after a disciplinary hearing, the penalties may include suspension, expulsion from residence halls, or permanent dismissal from CUNY.


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