Assemblyman Braunstein Announces Campus Safety Legislation Signed into Law

Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside) and Senator Kathleen A. Marchione (R,C-Halfmoon) announced that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law their legislation (A.2089/S.2753) that mandates 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 signing of this bill sends a strong message that New York State is taking the problem of campus sexual assault seriously. The number of violent crimes reported on campuses, and not investigated by local authorities, is disturbing and simply inexcusable. This legislation will lead to an increase in the 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.

I would like to thank Senator Marchione for her partnership in passing this vital legislation and I am grateful to Governor Cuomo for signing it into law.”

“Today, New York State took an important, long overdue step toward ensuring the safety of college students and improving the security of our college and university campuses. The bi-partisan legislation that Assemblyman Braunstein and I sponsored, and is now State Law, was a common sense solution to ensure the prompt notification of local law enforcement in the event of a violent felony or missing person case occurring on a college or university campus. In such situations, every second counts – the sooner local law enforcement is notified, the sooner we can avoid a tragedy and ensure that justice is served. I am thankful that Governor Cuomo signed this much-needed public safety measure into law,” Senator Marchione said.

Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “Over the years, the unsettling rise in the number of violent crimes committed against students on college campuses has shown us that we need to do more. With this new measure, we have strengthened New York’s Campus Safety Act to ensure that not a single moment is wasted when the well-being of our students hangs in the balance. By involving law enforcement agencies at the first sign of foul-play we can give parents and loved ones meaningful assurances that every possible effort has been taken to keep their students safe.”

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, there are on-campus crimes that are swept under the rug by colleges in an effort to protect their reputation,” said Assemblyman Braunstein. “This creates a culture 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. I first introduced this legislation in 2011 because I believe that 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 will now be compelled to inform local law enforcement agencies about these cases.”

This legislation is consistent with the federal Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights, which gives student victims of sexual offenses the option to report such offense to local law enforcement agencies if they so choose.

“I would like to thank my legislative partner in this effort, Assemblyman Edward Braunstein. The strong, bi-partisan support our legislation received from both houses of the state legislature should be a model for advancing real solutions to improve public safety. I am pleased this important issue remained above partisan politics and that we were able to achieve such an important victory. I also want to thank, and recognize, Doug and Mary Lyall, who have been such passionate and powerful advocates for increasing the safety of all college students and improving the security of our college and university campuses. The Lyall’s have been such strong supporters of this effort and are true, tireless champions in the cause of safer college campuses. This victory is their victory,” Senator Marchione said.