Ginamarie Graffeo 0

Extend Amnesty Policy to Sexual Assault Victims

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On the SUNY New Paltz campus, if a student is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and seeks medical attention, they may be granted amnesty from formal discipline from the college. On the first offense, judicial charges are deferred and the student will be dismissed upon completion of any drug or alcohol counseling. While a policy like this is important to protect students, more needs to be done to protect students who are victims of sexual assault.

1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are estimated to be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, and a majority of first time sexual offenses happen between the ages of 18-25, or when a person is in their college years.

In creating this petition, we are hoping to extend the amnesty to protect victims of sexual assault on our campus. No one should feel that they will receive negative consequences from reporting a sexual assault.

Our college has a duty to protect our students. In providing amnesty to students who report a sexual assault they experienced when they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the college will be encouraging the reporting of these offenses. Reporting in a timely fashion is important so that proper evidence can be collected and used in prosecuting the offender, and this change in policy will encourage students to report their assault even if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Underreporting is one of the major issues associated with sexual assault, and this policy can help to tackle this problem starting with our campus.

In addition to extending the amnesty policy, we want the college to not require victims of sexual assault to be put into drug or alcohol counseling (as stated in the amnesty policy). We feel that this shames the victim and makes them think that their use of alcohol or drugs caused their assault. Instead of this, we would like to require 3 sessions with a member of the counseling center to provide proper mental health care for the victim.

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