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Cuomo says sexual assault is ‘serious’ issue for colleges & universities

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WBFO News file photo
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Governor Andrew Cuomo responded to the recent investigation into assaults on college campuses while appearing in Rochester Wednesday. The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation in May. In New York State, four schools are under federal investigation for possible violations of how schools handle the reporting of sexual assault and harassment complaints. In this Focus on Education report WBFO's Eileen Buckley says the governor is stressing the seriousness of this issue.

“I don’t want to speak about any one college.  Different colleges have different polices, but I can say this there is no more serious issue than their dealing with,” said Governor Cuomo.

Cuomo was asked if he believes colleges and universities are handling reported cases of sexual assaults and harassment properly. 

The federal investigation includes SUNY at Binghamton, Sarah Lawrence College, CUNY Hunter College and Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, NY.  A New York Times article published over the weekend focuses on the rape of a young woman at Hobart and William Smith. The issue surrounds students reporting it to the campus and not a police agency. But Cuomo stressed these are criminal acts.

The Governor says he understands some schools want to come up with their own policies for what occurs on their campuses, but noted even on private property the assaults are again a crime.  Cuomo is the father of three daughters, two are currently attending college and he says this issue is "personal".