BUFFALO, N.Y. – The state is spending $4.5 million on a new State Police unit dedicated to responding to sexual assaults on college campuses. It is part of the Governor's "Enough is Enough" legislation signed into law this summer.
Freshmen at SUNY Buffalo State have already started moving in, and they are ready to start their college careers. But Kate Conway-Turner, the President of Buff State, says some have never had sex ed courses or conversations about sexual assault and rape. She's a psychologist and used to teach human sexuality at the college level.
"I would be so amazed how many times in a class of 60 students, that 40 of them would say that they had not had any of this information before," she says.
Conway-Turner is interested in seeing the details of Governor Cuomo's $10 million "Enough is Enough" program. Right now, we know it will apply to all colleges in the state and $4.5 million will help create a special unit of the State Police to focus on advanced training in responding to sexual assaults on campus. A State Police spokesperson says it's in its very early stages of development.
Conway-Turner says many resources are already available on-campus from the judicial process to the campus police department, professors and the counseling center.
"We know that sexual assault is an under-reported crime everywhere, including college campuses. So the more accessible we can be, the more people that understand what to look for and how to be a sympathetic ear and how to guide people to resources, the better," says Conway-Turner.
One of those people is United Students Government President Derek Jorden.
"Our quote is yes is yes and no is no. So if you say, yeah, maybe, it's no. We educate them about alcohol and drugs, and use and how, you know, that plays in with sexual assault, so they're very educated. We've been doing this for a year now and it's getting a lot, a lot of attention on campus," says Jorden.
Jorden is also a resident adviser and has an open door policy for students.
"They knew me all over my building so they could, you know, come into my room whenever and talk to me, hey, I need to talk to you about this issue. So we have that one on one personality, relationship, with the students," says Jorden.