GENESEO, N.Y. -- New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul stopped by the Geneseo campus Aug. 29 as part of a multi-campus tour in New York to address students, staff and faculty about Governor Andrew Cuomo’s “Enough is Enough” initiative to combat sexual assault on college campuses.
The new legislation was signed into law July 7 and requires all colleges to adopt a set of comprehensive procedures and guidelines, including a uniform definition of affirmative consent, a statewide amnesty policy, and expanded access to law enforcement to ensure the safety of all students attending colleges in New York state.
“I need your help in creating a complete change in our society’s attitude about the crime of sexual assault,” Hochul urged the audience of students, faculty and staff. “I want to see change to occur similar to what has happened to help combat domestic violence. We need to get to the point of ostracizing students who engage in sexual assault on campus.”
SUNY Geneseo President Denise A. Battles (left) greets New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul prior to Hochul’s address.
Hochul recommended numerous actions including sustained messaging campuses to keep the issue on the front burner, especially during time periods where the crime is most often committed.
“We need to change the climate on how we handle sexual assault,” she told the group. “You can be the ones to send out the message on campus of zero tolerance.”
Geneseo has been in the forefront of confronting sexual assault, having been with prevention programs and response services for several years. Below is a list of the most recent available programs and services:
- “Talk About It” and “Think About It” are mandatory educational programs for all incoming new students. The programs focus on sexual assault and dating and domestic violence and stalking. All first-year students were asked to complete the program. 1,552 students were invited to complete the program by Sept. 30; almost half have done so already.
- Fatima Rodriguez-Johnson, assistant dean of students for multicultural program and services, and Tamara Kenney, director of student care services and Title IX coordinator for students, have developed a program to address sexual assault and bias-related incidents. The program is facilitated by peers who present a video that includes students reading scenarios of incidents that have occurred on our campus (sexual assault, hate crime, chilly climate, and bias-related incidents), and after listening to the scenarios, the facilitators engage the students in conversation, which includes labeling the incident and providing resources for reporting and support services on and off campus. The program concludes with the facilitators discussing what it means to be a member of the Geneseo community and watching the StandUP video. This program is offered at the start of the fall and spring semesters to every first-year student. Resident assistants escort students to the meeting rooms. 85% of Geneseo’s first-year students (fall 2015 and spring 2016) have participated in the program thus far. After training 13 students to become facilitators, including Greeks and student athletes, in Mentor’s In Violence Prevention (a three day training program), the Creating a Safer and Welcoming Campus Community was hosted for first-year students Aug. 27. The training was funded by Chances and Changes and hosted on campus.
- “Live the Green Dot” is a bystander intervention program that challenges students to “do something” to reduce incidents of sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking. The “do something” is defined by the 3D’s (direct intervention – if the situation is safe; distract – change the situation to reduce harm; and delegate – get others to help). The goal is to develop proactive bystanders on our campus. Seven members of our campus community have been trained by Green Dot to implement the program, and Chip Matthews, Director of Student Life, and Tamara Kenney will be creating a working group with the goal of establishing the Green Dot Program at Geneseo in the 2016-2017 academic year. Green Dot trainings will be offered this academic year.
- Geneseo is a member of the One Love Foundation, created by the family of Yeardley Love. Ms. Love, a student-athlete at the University of Virginia, was found beaten to death in her off-campus apartment, the victim of an assault by her former boyfriend, also a student-athlete at the University of Virginia, in 2010. Tamara Kenney will be coordinating with the One Love student organization to provide more training and dating/domestic violence.
- Information about healthy communication and recognizing abusive relationships is available in Lauderdale Center for Student Health and Counseling, which also provides counseling to students about topics such as relationship dynamics, violence, and assault.
- RESTORE sexual assault services are offered as confidential, on-campus services to students on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. in Sturges Hall 208B. Chances & Changes dating, domestic violence and stalking services also offer confidential, on campus services to students on Monday and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Sturges 208B.
- Domestic violence and healthy relationship profiles have been topics addressed in programs offered by the Women's Action Coalition, Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, the Geneseo Pride Alliance, at the Women's Leadership Institute, and during Women's Health Month in March. (If you are interested in requesting a presentation for your group, please contact Health Promotion Coordinator Dana Minton at email@example.com or Tamara Kenney at firstname.lastname@example.org.) This work will be continued this academic year. The Interfaith Center, Dana Minton and Tamara Kenney are working on a health relationship workshop day at the Interfaith Center.
- The Health Promotion office has a web page dedicated to healthy versus abusive relationships.
- Domestic violence and sexual assault are the topics of awareness in the month of April with programming coordinated by most of the above-mentioned groups. October is Dating Violence Awareness Month, during which programming is offered by the student peer mentors known as the Health Guards. This peer education group offers a Healthy Relationship program by request to all student groups and residence halls. This work will be continued this academic year.
- Stand Up Geneseo offers bystander education to students.
- Confidential access to domestic violence and interpersonal violence resources is available in a number of restrooms across campus, specifically in Lauderdale Center for Student Health and Counseling.
- You Are Not Alone information about dating violence is also available on our website.
- The Silent Witness program offers opportunities for the community to anonymously provide the University Police Department with information about concerning or criminal activity that has occurred or is taking place either on or off campus. Click here to access the silent witness form.
- A GOLD workshop on Healthy Relationships was offered on October 16, 2015 and will be repeated on March 2, 2016. A full description of that workshop follows:
Healthy Relationships [Women's Leadership Conference] [Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds] (Bronze) Wednesday, March 2, 2:30 – 3:30 pm | CU 319
How do you keep the lines of communication open so that you can maintain strong, honest, and respectful relationships? What are signs of an unhealthy relationship? Learn about ways to foster happiness in your relationships and what to do if relationships are unhealthy. Instructor: Laura Swanson, Counselor.
- Tamara Kenney has worked with students to develop a Sexual Assault Survivors Support Group, which meets once a week. Starting this fall, she will be working with Chances and Changes to establish a Dating/Domestic Violence Survivors Support Group. Kenney will have two student interns developing, naming and promoting the prevention space located in Sturges 208A. More information will be available by the end of September. Kenney emphasizes that all reports of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence and stalking will be thoroughly investigated by the Title IX Coordinator or the Title IX Coordinator for Students with the assistance of a trained investigator. Students who have experienced this type of violence will be met with to share resources and support services, as well as options for participating in a Title IX investigation.