Lady Gaga, Governor Cuomo Win Major Victory Against Campus Sexual Assault

Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages.
UPDATE: New York State police superintendent Joseph D'Amico and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday September 2nd at an "Enough is Enough" campaign held at NYU that a new Sexual Assault Victims Unit will be working hands-on with New York college students. "This unit will consist of a team of senior and experienced state police investigators...with two main duties: first to provide investigative assistance including forensic support to college and local police who are investigating campus sexual assault; second, training to law enforcement, and that includes campus police, and to the college community," D'Amico said. Additionally, this law will grant immunity to students who report assaults while under the influence of underage consumption of alcohol, a clear violation of campus policy. Just in time for the fall 2015 semester, this sexual assault law —the toughest in the nation — will go into effect on October 5th.

UPDATE (July 8th):
On Tuesday, July 7, Governor Andrew Cuomo saw his "Enough is Enough" bill officially become law. The newly implemented legislation will, according to the governor's website, require "all [New York] colleges to adopt a set of comprehensive procedures and guidelines, including a uniform definition of affirmative consent, a statewide amnesty policy, and expanded access to law enforcement to ensure the safety of all students attending colleges in New York State." Cuomo, who will have three daughters in college as of fall, emphasized that this step is just the first in ensuring that sexual violence on campus is treated as a crime. "With this law," he said, "we will better protect every student that attends college within our borders, and I am proud New York is leading the way once again."

This story was originally published on June 8th.

In attempt to pass his proposed "Enough is Enough" bill (which urges New York to implement a viable prevention policy against campus sexual assault), Governor Andrew Cuomo is turning to a surprising ally: He's called upon Lady Gaga — performance powerhouse, LGBTQ pioneer, and rape survivor — to help deliver a plea for safety to the masses.

"Every fall, young men and women head off to colleges across the country, dreaming of bright futures and the experience of a lifetime," Gaga writes in an op-ed she co-authored with Cuomo, published exclusively on Billboard. "They’ve worked hard for the chance to become a part of their new campuses, and they set out full of hope and excitement."

She continues, "Unfortunately, for thousands of these students that dream turns into a nightmare because of the unacceptable epidemic of sexual violence that is currently plaguing colleges and universities. It is a shocking reality that many in academia, government, and society in general still refuse to acknowledge."

To highlight the importance of the "Enough is Enough" campaign that was first presented to lawmakers in February, the pair discusses the harsh reality of sexual assault on college campuses, particularly how many victims don't report their attacks (fewer than five percent of rapes that occur on college campuses are reported to law enforcement in New York), and how many perpetrators actually go unpunished. This call-to-action aims to decrease these statistics, by "applying the provisions" — which includes a clear, concise definition of "consent," appropriate training for school administration and staff, and a Sexual Violence Victim / Survivor Bill of Rights — "to all colleges and universities — public and private — in New York State."

Can Cuomo and Gaga combat the campus assault epidemic plaguing not just New York, but our nation? It may seem like a feat difficult for two people to tackle, but when Lady Gaga (and her 47 million Twitter followers) are on your side, people (and hopefully legislators) are bound to listen.

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