After over four months of work, the campus sexual assault policy has officially been changed to reflect the overall State University of New York policies. In an email from Vice President for Student and Campus Life Robert Bonfiglio on Monday April 20, the Geneseo community learned that the policies are effective immediately. According to Bonfiglio, there are three major changes between Geneseo’s previous policy and the new version.
“SUNY has a uniform definition of affirmative consent and so while we had a statement about consent in our conduct policy before, now we have the same statement that any other SUNY has,” Bonfiglio said. He noted that this change was part of the uniform SUNY policy Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed for.
According to Bonfiglio, other amendments include changing the procedures that discuss how the college judicial boards deal with sexual assault, making the language in the sexual misconduct policy more uniform with that of the SUNY policy and changes to the general medical amnesty policy—now the Good Samaritan policy.
“I wouldn’t say there was a lot new in the procedures, but what has been done is that the way we approach it has been specifically spelled out, described in detail in the policies in a clear way hopefully,” he said.
These amendments began to come to fruition on Dec. 1 after Cuomo announced earlier in fall 2014 that “he wanted New York State to be a leader in the area of sexual assault.”
Bonfiglio explained that many steps had to be taken in order to amend the policy, beginning with the Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault making their recommendations. Geneseo then looked at the policies and made suggestions, giving all of these to the president of the Student Association. This information was also shared with a committee consisting of Title IX Coordinator Adrienne Collier, Chief of University Police Thomas Kilcullen, interim Director of Health and Counseling Tamara Kenney, Director for the Center of Community and Dean of Students Leonard Sancilio and professor of psychology and Interpersonal Violence Prevention Committee co-chair Jennifer Katz.
Following this, the policies went to the college’s cabinet––which consists of the Vice President and President––for review. After being approved by the cabinet, it goes to the college council for further review.
Bonfligio expressed his satisfaction with the revamped sexual assault policy. “I think what we have now is clearer information, more specific information, more accessible information on what students should expect of this issue and what they should expect of their college when the college is dealing with the issue,” he said. “We also have, I think, an understanding of what is unacceptable on all SUNY campuses, and this comes into play sometimes when people are looking to transfer from one SUNY to another.”
Now that the changes to the policy have been made and are in effect, the next step is to educate students, faculty and staff about these changes. This includes focusing on training student leaders such as team captains, residence assistants, orientation advisors and SA members as well as teaching incoming freshman at new student orientation.
“Everyone should still expect that this will be a high priority,” Bonfiglio said. “Sexual assault prevention will be a high priority for the college.”
All of the revised policies can be found online at the following links: the Good Samaritan Policy http://www.geneseo.edu/webfm_send/11611, the State University of New York-wide uniform definition of affirmative consent http://www.geneseo.edu/webfm_send/11636, a revised College Sexual Misconduct Policy http://www.geneseo.edu/webfm_send/11637 and the State University of New York-wide Sexual Violence Response Policy http://www.geneseo.edu/webfm_send/11638.