Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside) announced the passage of legislation in the Assembly, which he authored, (A.2089) that would mandate colleges and universities to notify the appropriate law enforcement agency no more than 24 hours after the report of a violent felony or missing person.
“The passage of the campus safety bill sends a strong message that New York State is taking the problem of campus sexual assault seriously,” said Assemblyman Braunstein. “The persistent number of violent crimes reported on college campuses is disturbing and simply inexcusable. More can and should be done to protect our students and ensure that college campuses are kept as safe as possible. This is the first of hopefully many steps we can take to cut down on campus assaults and prevent any more parents from experiencing the heartache of a hurt or missing child.”
“When a student falls victim to a violent crime or has been reported missing, every second counts,” Speaker Sheldon Silver said. “Any delay means valuable time has been lost and lives are in even greater danger. This legislation answers demands for a stronger response to the unsettling number of assaults on college campuses by ensuring such terrible and unfortunate occurrences are swiftly reported to local law enforcement officials. We must do everything in our power to keep students and campuses safe.”
“There is currently no law requiring that colleges and universities in New York, when informed about violent crimes committed on campus, notify local authorities in a timely manner,” said Assemblyman Braunstein. “Absent this requirement, colleges and universities sometimes attempt to handle these incidents in-house out of fear of generating negative publicity. This legislation will lead to an increased prosecution of criminals by ensuring that these assaults are reported to local law enforcement agencies, which are more properly trained to investigate serious criminal issues.”
Research by the United States Department of Justice and The White House Council on Women and Girls indicates that 1 in 5 college females has been the victim of a sexual assault, and only 12% of student victims report the assault to law enforcement. “All too frequently, we hear stories about on-campus crimes, often sexual in nature that are swept under the rug by colleges in an effort to protect their reputation,” said Assemblyman Braunstein. “This creates a system where criminals are not held accountable for their actions and parents are not provided with facts about the safety of the school where they send their children. The perpetrators of these crimes should be prosecuted in a court of law. As such, in addition to conducting internal investigations under Title IX and the Clery Act, colleges and universities should be compelled to inform local law enforcement agencies about these cases.”
This legislation complies with the federal Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights, which gives the victim of a sexual offense the right whether or not to report such offense to local law enforcement agencies.