News | Administration

Proposed City Council bill would require Columbia to release sex crime data every month

  • Yue Ben / Senior Staff Photographer
    PROPOSALS | New York City Public Advocate Letitia James proposed new legislation on Monday to address sexual assault on college campuses.

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James proposed new legislation on Monday to address sexual assault on college campuses.

The NYC Campus Safety Act would require private and public colleges in the city to report sex crime statistics every month and coordinate their responses to on-campus sexual assaults with local rape crisis centers.

The legislation, which has already been endorsed by a coalition of elected officials, women’s advocacy groups, and student activists, would also establish a new NYPD liaison and multiagency task force to work with colleges on sexual assault prevention programs and increase funding for rape crisis centers citywide.

If passed by the City Council, the bill’s most significant impact on Columbia’s sexual assault policies would likely be in regards to the monthly reports on sex crime statistics.

Currently, the University releases the number of forcible and nonforcible sexual offenses on campus only once a year as part of Public Safety’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, which is all that’s required by the Clery Act. James’ legislation would thus require Columbia to release those numbers on a monthly basis.

While the NYC Campus Safety Act would increase the frequency of sex crime statistics reporting, it would not impact the level of detail regarding sexual assault cases currently released by Columbia, which has been a point of contention for students since the fall.

In October, the Columbia University Democrats circulated a petition calling for the University to release anonymous aggregate data about the adjudication of cases of sexual assault, rape, and gender-based misconduct on campus. The petition drew well over 1,000 signatures by the end of the semester, and in January, University President Lee Bollinger agreed to release sexual assault data by the end of the academic year.

While that data still has not been released—the President’s Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault has met several times to discuss the best way to release the data in a way that protects the privacy of students—activism from CU Dems, No Red Tape Columbia, and the Title IX Team has pushed the University to some action—launching a website to clarify adjudication information and holding two town halls.

Still, students have said that the University isn’t doing enough. Just last month, 23 students filed a federal complaint against Columbia, alleging violations of Title IX, Title II, and the Clery Act.

“There’s a consensus emerging that universities aren’t doing enough,” Sejal Singh, CC ’15 and Columbia College Student Council vice president-elect for policy, said in April. “This is a nationwide problem.”

James’ proposed legislation comes on the heels of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault’s list of expectations for reforming sexual assault policies on campuses nationwide. The White House report detailed many of the flaws with current prevention and adjudication policies, which James hopes this proposed legislation will address.

“These proposals represent real steps that will educate students about sexual assault, hold colleges accountable, increase support for victims, and better protect our students from sexual assault,” James said in a press release.

maia.bix@columbiaspectator.com  |  @MaiaClay4

Comments

Plain text

  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Your username will not be displayed if checked
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
cc'15 posted on

realllyyyyyy uncomfortable with legislation that creates ties between Columbia's procedures/offices and the NYPD. Some students actively choose to report to a campus system because they don't feel comfortable/safe reporting to police.

(also, I don't think that's something students have been asking for at all! Who have you been talking to Letitia James?)

+1
+12
-1
Anonymous posted on

NYPD must enforce the law in NYC. Columbia University is in NYC. No? Dumb ass? Where in the constitution does it say that a Columbia student is allowed to break the law? How did your dumb-assed mother and your dumb-assed father raise you to be such a self-entitled little shit?

+1
-8
-1
Anonymous posted on

This is a huge privacy issue. Some people do not want their information reported and do not want to be in the cities endless statistics and web sites. This is a horrible invasion of privacy.

+1
+5
-1
Anonymous posted on

Yikes. More government interference and beaurocracy in the running of a private university.

+1
+6
-1
Anonymous posted on

To a perp like you, law enforcement definitely is interference. But, suck it up.

+1
-3
-1
Actual student activist posted on

I know many student activists here actively reached out to LJ's office and explicitly said this was NOT a good idea and that we would NOT support this plan. I do not know of any student activists who actually support this proposed bill or any plan that increases the role of police in campus sexual violence response.

extremely disappointed to see public leaders ignoring the express wishes of students and proposing bills that would actually harm us. UGH.

+1
+4
-1
they are just trying to get elected posted on

This is just good pr for all the politicians to make them seem super liberal.

+1
-4
-1
Anonymous posted on

NYPD must enforce the law in NYC. Columbia University is in NYC. No? Dumb ass? Where in the constitution does it say that a Columbia student is allowed to break the law? How did your dumb-assed mother and your dumb-assed father raise you to be such a self-entitled little shit?

+1
-11
-1
Anonymous posted on

More government interference and beaurocracy invading a private organization is never a good thing.

+1
0
-1
Anonymous posted on

Do you not realize that Columbia University is a stifling bureaucracy? Are you that stupid? Or, do you love Bollinger's bureaucracy because he encourages you to rape people?

+1
-2
-1
You voted '+1'.
Anonymous posted on

Why just colleges? Why not other businesses, government agencies, law firms, Wall Street, etc, shouldn't they have to report their sex crimes too?

+1
-2
-1
Anonymous posted on

Of course, they do. There have been several instances in Wall street where perps have been dismissed or prosecuted just for creating an unsafe, hostile environment let alone rape. Come out of those walls and find the real world.

+1
-2
-1
Anonymous posted on

Please give explicit examples where law firms, financial firms, government agencies are required to report their sex crimes to the public? Every month? Oh, that's right, there aren't any.

+1
-2
-1
Anonymous posted on

I get it. You love the status quo because you can rape anybody at will. Friggin perp.

+1
0
-1
Student posted on

Because the NYC City Council doesn't have the authority to regulate private businesses in that way. They can regulate Columbia because Columbia receives public funding.

+1
0
-1
Anonymous posted on

I've never appreciated a NYC City Council proposal as much as I do this one.

This sounds like it could be a really, genuinely helpful effort aimed at correcting the covering up of sexual harassment and assault complaints at Columbia University. It's also nice to know that my own city doesn't tolerate what is tolerated and enabled within Columbia University. Knowing that this is how an institution within my own city treats people, unnerving.

Add this local city council effort to Gillibrand's initiative of a federal database to track similar complaints and we might get a real solution to this ongoing, institutional, and very intentional problem.

When, as a victim of attempted sexual assault, escalating sexual harassment, and retaliation as a result of reporting it and asking to be transferred away from it, I was told by Columbia U dean, "President Bollinger wanted me to tell you that even if what you say is true we can't understand why it bothers you so much so that you aren't willing to stay here and finish your degrees," I replied by saying, well it does (bother me that much, no degree is worth being harassed for).

It's comforting to know it bothers the rest of NYC too.

+1
-2
-1
Anonymous posted on

Don't forget that some of the complainants not included in the most recent 23 complaints filed, were filed complaints against professors, not students.

The professor against which a complaint was filed by myself and another student, he got transferred to Barnard. Given our complaints, transferring that man to the undergrad all girls school seems unconscionable.

If that isn't an example of why external and vigilant oversight of Columbia U is necessary, I don't know what is.

+1
+2
-1