Hear ye! Hear ye! Because I got some shit to spill.
In May 2017, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered a comprehensive audit of all New York State’s colleges and universities to gauge each school’s compliance to his 2015 “Enough is Enough” law. The law was created to aggressively fight sexual assault across college campuses, and requires policies on student and staff training, notification of student’s rights and the way investigations must be handled.
However – in case you didn’t know how government work goes – just because a law gets passed, doesn’t mean anyone is going to listen. Which is why Cuomo began his audit back in May to review how well public and private higher institutions in New York State were adapting these required policies.
The review was set to complete in Fall 2017, with a preliminary review due out September 1, 2017. With the deadline looming, Muckrock, a non-profit collaborative news organization, filed a FOIL request with the State University of New York (SUNY), a system of all the public colleges in New York, asking for the results of the audit.
Their request was answered August 21, 2017, stating that SUNY never actually completed the mandatory audit. Whoops.
But let’s add fuel to the fire shall we? Because not only did SUNY not comply with Cuomo’s mandatory audit, SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher expressed admiration for the bill during it’s release in 2015, saying that it is state leaders and educators “first and foremost responsibility” to ensure that colleges and universities are safe for students.
SUNY has a responsibility to ensure the safest environment possible for its students, and the only way to gauge the improvement of SUNY policies and procedures is through these reviews. By ignoring Cuomo’s audit, it shows a complete lack of care to the issue and complacency with fighting campus sexual assault.
There is a chance that every single SUNY school listened to Cuomo and addressed the requests of Enough is Enough. But how will SUNY know without taking the time to check? How will colleges and universities know how they can improve themselves?
A law means nothing is nobody bothers to implement it, and a review means nothing if nobody bothers to listen to it. Sexual assault is too important of a topic to be ignored, and it’s time we start doing more.
(Illustration by DonkeyHotey)
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