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Gillibrand pushing for new legislation to reduce sexual assault on college campuses

Ellen Abbott
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) participate in a roundtable on sexual assault on college campuses.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) stopped at college campuses across upstate New York Monday, continuing her push to get support for a bill that would combat sexual violence on college campuses. Her last stop was at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.

When Meaghan Greeley was sexually assaulted on a college campus six years ago, there wasn’t much help for her.

"There were no confidential advocates to turn to for support. The administrators or staff members I sought guidance from had never received any training in how to advise me or support me,” said Greeley.

She hopes that’s one of the things that changes in a new version of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act that was introduced in the Senate last week.  

At a roundtable at SU, Gillibrand noted that the legislation would professionalize the response in the reporting of sexual assaults on campus. The Democrat senator says the legislation also creates a standardized biannual survey that will help schools be more transparent sexual violence on campus.

"With the online survey, every school is going to have a very clear picture about what’s happening on in their school,” said Gillibrand. “They’re going to have more real numbers in terms of assault. Because if an assault doesn’t get reported, the university won’t know about it. But in this confidential setting people will be able to disclose what’s really going on.”

Gillibrand says the bill has bipartisan support, and is optimistic it will make it into law this year.

“There’s really no stated opposition yet. We took time after we introduced the first bill to take comments from all sources so we improved the bill with input from universities, from the accused community, from victims’ rights advocates, from students, from all sources. So the bill is a stronger bill than it was last year, and we’re getting more buy in.”