Wednesday, September 1, 2010

SGC's recommendations accepted by Vice Chancellor Jordan !!!!

 As promised, our last posting of this tracker involves the implementation recommendations SGC worked on and negotiated during the summer . Here are the recommendations that were accepted by Vice Chancellor Jordan and will be incorporated in the implementation of the policy that is now in effect:

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) 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 :



The City University of New York seeks to create and maintain a safe environment in which all members of the University community—students, faculty and staff—can learn and work free from the fear of sexual assault and other forms of violence. The University’s policies on Workplace Violence and Domestic Violence and the Workplace apply to all acts of violence that occur in the workplace or that may spill over into the workplace. The University’s Sexual Harassment Policy prohibits many forms of unwelcome conduct, including but not limited to, physical conduct of a sexual nature. This policy is specifically directed towards sexual assault, domestic and intimate partner violence and stalking committed against students on and off-campus.

CUNY wants all victims of sexual assault, stalking and domestic and intimate partner violence to know that the University has professionals and law enforcement officers who are trained in the field to assist student victims in obtaining help, including immediate medical care, counseling and other essential services. If the perpetrator is also a member of the CUNY community, the college will take prompt action to investigate, and, where appropriate, to discipline and sanction the perpetrator. CUNY urges all victims to seek immediate help in accordance with the guidelines set forth in this policy with the assurance that all information received from a complaint will be handled as confidentially as possible.

In order to eliminate sexual assaults and other forms of violence perpetrated against students, and to create a safe college community, it is critical to provide an appropriate prevention education program and have trained professionals to provide vital supportive services.

Accordingly, CUNY is committed to the following goals:

• Providing clear and concise guidelines for students to follow in the event that they or someone

they know have been the victim of a sexual assault, domestic/intimate partner violence, or stalking.

• Assisting victims of sexual assault or abuse in obtaining necessary medical care and

counseling, whether be on or off-campus.

• Providing the most informed and up-to-date education and information to its students about how

to identify situations that involve sexual assault, domestic and intimate partner violence, or
stalking, and ways to prevent these forms of violence.

• Educating and training all staff members, including counselors, public safety officers and student

affairs staff, to assist victims of sexual assault, domestic/intimate partner violence, or stalking.

• Ensuring that disciplinary procedures are followed in the event that the alleged perpetrator is a CUNY student or employee.


Obtaining assistance after a student is sexually assaulted, stalked or is in an abusive relationship is extremely important and can involve different points of on-campus contact for students, faculty and staff, including the Public Safety Department, Women’s/Men’s Centers and Counseling Departments, and/or the Dean of Student Development/Student Affairs. Each provides different forms of assistance which together address 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 other act of violence or abuse, or any student or employee who has witnessed a sexual assault or other act of violence 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. Each college shall be provided with a list of emergency contact numbers as part of its orientation and training programs.

• Seek Immediate Medical Attention

It is critical that victims of a physical assault receive comprehensive medical attention as soon as possible. For a sexual assault in particular, immediate treatment and the preservation of evidence of the attack (i.e. retain the clothing worn during the attack and do not shower) is crucial to a criminal investigation. 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. Each college shall be provided with 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 and are trained to gather minute evidence from such assaults. Rape crisis advocates at emergency rooms are also trained to handle domestic violence. EMS will be directed to bring victims to a SAFE hospital at their request. Medical attention is critical not only to treat internal and external injuries and to combat the possibilities of sexually transmitted infections and/or pregnancy, but also to collect evidence that can be used against the alleged perpetrator. It is also vital to ongoing safety and recovery that victims receive emotional support and professional counseling as soon as possible after the attack.

• Seek On-Campus Assistance

CUNY encourages student victims 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. Public Safety can assist victims getting to and from campus safely, filing a police report and obtaining an order of protection against the perpetrator. Victims can also file a complaint with the College against a perpetrator who is a student or employee of the University with the Dean of Student Affairs/Student Development and the Public Safety Office.

• Obtaining an On-Campus Advocate

Student victims of a sexual assault, stalking or domestic or intimate partner violence shall be provided with on-campus support in the form of an advocate from the Women’s/Men’s Center (if there is one on campus) or an appropriately trained counselor to assist them in handling the various aspects of their ordeal, such as: 1) explaining to victims their options of whether or not to report the incident to campus or law enforcement authorities; 2) providing guidance if they require medical attention; 3) providing guidance in obtaining crisis intervention and/or ongoing counseling services (or a referral to obtain the necessary services if such services are not available on campus); and 4) assisting victims throughout the College’s disciplinary process if they choose to file a complaint against another student in connection with the incident.

• Handling Sexual Assault, Stalking and Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence

Complaints On-Campus
The Colleges shall act promptly in response to information that a student has been sexually assaulted, or has been the victim of domestic or intimate partner violence or stalking by another member of the CUNY community. Upon receipt of a 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 perpetrator 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. If a student is found guilty of committing a sexual assault or other act of violence against another CUNY student or employee after a disciplinary hearing, the penalties may include suspension, expulsion from residence halls, or permanent dismissal from CUNY.
In addition, if during the course of the investigation and/or disciplinary process the perpetrator, or anyone on his/her behalf, seeks to contact the victim so as to harass, intimidate, threaten or coerce the victim in any way, the College reserves the right to bring additional disciplinary action against the actor. Such conduct by any member of the CUNY community will not be tolerated.
• Confidentiality

The University recognizes that confidentiality is particularly important to victims of sex crimes, domestic and intimate partner violence and stalking. If the victim seeks counseling with a licensed professional and/or works with an advocate from the campus, those communications will be confidential. CUNY encourages victims in all circumstances to seek counseling in order to speak about her/his options and to begin the recovery period.

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 or incident of domestic/intimate partner violence or stalking to the police will prevail, though the College reserves the right to notify the police when it believes that such reporting is necessary for the protection of the College community. Such notification, however, will be done without divulging the victim’s identity and will be done only for the purpose of providing a campus-wide safety alert. In addition, the College must adhere to legal mandates such as Title IX, medical reporting laws, and the Campus Security Act. For example, CUNY is required to make an annual report documenting the occurrences of violent crimes on campus, including sexual assault. However, this report does not include any information identifying the individuals (including the victims) linked to these crimes.


The President and Vice President for Student Affairs/Student Development of each college shall be responsible for implementing this policy in accordance with the most up-to-date information and resources pertaining to sexual assault, stalking and domestic/intimate partner violence education and prevention, and victim assistance. The following steps must be taken to implement this policy:

1. Publication: A copy of this policy shall be easily accessible on the CUNY website and on the website administered by each College. A summary shall also be incorporated into every College student handbook. In addition, copies of the policy and procedures shall be made available in student centers, residence halls, student affairs/student development offices, women’s/men’s centers, counseling centers, health clinics and public safety departments, and shall be distributed to all new students during orientations.

2. Prevention/Risk Reduction Education: Each College shall develop materials and programs to educate its students, faculty and staff on the nature, dynamics, common circumstances and effects of sexual assault, domestic/intimate partner violence and stalking, and the means to reduce their occurrence and prevent them. Prevention education should provide up-to-date and relevant information, such as education pertaining to bystander intervention, the importance of peer networks and the significance of fostering a community of responsibility.

Prevention education materials and programs shall be incorporated into campus orientation activities for all incoming undergraduate and graduate students (including transfers), and shall be made available to all student activity groups, clubs and athletic teams. In addition, all residence halls shall have a mandatory orientation on sexual assault, stalking and domestic/intimate partner violence prevention. Colleges are encouraged to assist in the organization of peer education groups and to provide resources to such groups so that the groups can provide training and outreach to other students throughout the academic year. Since the abuse of alcohol is frequently involved in occurrences of sexual assault and other forms of violence, it is important that the education program include education about the deleterious effects of alcohol abuse.

3. Professional Training: Each College shall provide periodic training relating to the prevention and handling of sexual assaults, stalking and domestic/intimate partner violence for all relevant personnel, including public safety officers, counselors, student affairs staff and residence hall assistants by experts trained in the field. Education and training shall also be made available to any interested faculty and staff member. Each campus must have at least one qualified staff or faculty member serve as a designated liaison and trainer.

4. Oversight by CUNY Central Administration: The University Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs shall monitor compliance with this policy at all of the campuses, shall review the policies and procedures on an annual basis, and shall make recommendations in the event that updates to prevention and education information are necessitated. In addition, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs shall provide educational materials that may be needed to ensure full implementation of this policy on every campus. Liaisons will be identified from each campus who will receive standardized training in order to fulfill their responsibilities on their campuses. The policies, procedures and outreach materials and programs will be subject to a periodic process of assessment in order to maintain efficacy.
*The policy is currently being placed on the University's homepage and individual college pages, as well as placed in mandated sites around campuses. 
 So this is it, we thank you for supporting us during this two year venture and hope you will join in with us as we forge ahead with our newest initiative, the Torture Awareness Campaign (TAC) that you can find out more about through our webpage. 
To building a Greater CUNY!!

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