A cornerstone of the campus experience at SUNY schools across New York is the safety of all students. We want to make sure that students are in a safe environment as they begin independent living for the first time, but also provide the resources and knowledge of what to do should something go wrong.
SUNY takes all reports of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking seriously. Over the past year, there has been collaboration and work taking place to create a uniform policy to combat sexual assault on New York college campuses. Through the collaboration of all members of the working group assigned to develop this policy, the effort has resulted in the most comprehensive, student-centered set of policies at any campus nationwide.
The policies were only the first part. Equally as important to the process is the ability for members of the SUNY community to know what they can do if they experience any form of sexual violence. That’s why SUNY has developed an online tool that provides resources and support via the Sexual Assault & Violence Response (SAVR) Resources website.
This new, first-of-its-kind resource offers response, support and reporting resources throughout New York for victims and survivors of sexual assault. It connects individuals to resources in the event of an emergency, and also provides information on Affirmative Consent definitions, Drug and Alcohol Amnesty, and the Student Bill of Rights. In line with Federal and New York State law, the choice of what resources to use and when is for the victim and survivor. Students can search the online database for resources by campus, or search off-campus resources by zip code, all of which are available whether the incident occurs on or off campus.
In addition to the resources available from the database, there is also a Visa and Immigration Resource. SAVR for immigrants provides specific information for international students in a number of languages. While most international students studying at college have a good grasp of English, in the terror that follows sexual and interpersonal violence, they may be more comfortable reading about resources in their native language. The Visa and Immigration Resource has been reviewed and translated into many languages (currently more than 20) to provide native language resources to the entire SUNY community.
The University encourages students to use all of the response, support and reporting (including criminal reporting) resources offered. In the aftermath of sexual assault, individuals may choose to seek medical attention, counseling, or the aid of law enforcement. Victims of sexual assault can choose to file a police report, have a sexual assault forensic exam, or both. Individuals who choose not to report can still make the decision to visit the nearest hospital or clinic. Though not every victim suffers visible physical injuries, many can still benefit from medical attention such as tests for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections or diseases, as well as support services.
Finally, for additional safety/security measures, the website also includes an “Exit Site” button that instantly clears the visit from the user’s internet history and redirects to a blank Google homepage, enabling victims to leave the page quickly and undetected, if necessary.
It is the victim/survivor’s right to decide what resources to use and who or who not to report to. And now, all of the resources available to the SUNY community are easy to find. Know your rights and resources, and visit the SUNY SAVR Resources website today.
On the September 9 edition of the Capital Pressroom, SUNY Associate Counsel Joseph Storch was interviewed and provided a look at SUNY’s new web-based Sexual Assault & Violence Response Resources to support victims. You can listen to that interview beginning at the 22:00 mark in the audio file below:
Kay is a student assistant with the SUNY Office of New Media. She is a University at Albany undergraduate working towards a double major in English and East Asian studies with a double minor in communications and film.