PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- Congresswoman Nita Lowey and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul met with Pace University students and administrators on Tuesday to discuss proposed federal legislation that would toughen punishments when sexual assaults occur on college campuses.
Lowey detailed legislation that she will co~sponsor in Washington, D.C., to bolster Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s "Enough is Enough" campaign.
"As a mother of three and grandmother of eight, I worry about this,'' Lowey said during Tuesday's round-table discussion at Pace. "And I have my first grandchild going off to college."
"Freedom and excess alcohol don't go together' Lowey said. "They are going to college to get an education (but some students) think fun means getting totally drunk, and participating in a whole range of behavior that is inappropriate and illegal."
"Young people have to understand that unacceptable and illegal behavior is still unacceptable and illegal no matter how much you had to drink,'' Lowey said.
Joining Hochul and Lowey at Tuesday's discussion were: Justice and Security Professor Maryellen Martirano, Pace University Title IX Coordinator Lisa Miles, Pace Interim Dean of Students Rachel Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief of The Pace Chronicle Emily Wolfrum, Pace Student Government Association President Daniel Garcia, Pace LGBTQ President Rachel Simon, Residence Director at Martin Hall Tiffany Bermudez, and Pace University Assistant Dean of Community Standards and Compliance Debbie Levesque.
"We must work together to make sure that institutions of higher learning have the resources to protect students. I’m proud to join Lt. Governor Hochul in supporting the Governor’s ‘Enough is Enough’ campaign."
During the roundtable, Lowey announced that she will cosponsor the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA) in the U.S House of Representatives. This bill seeks to empower students by providing confidential advisors in the event of a sexual assault, to give students and administrators more information by requiring biennial surveys of sexual assaults on campus, and to improve training for campus personnel. It would also create a new competitive grant program to improve prevention and response.
"No student should have to fear sexual assault on a college campus," Lowey added.
Colleges face fines of $150,000 for violating the proposed law, Lowey told reporters afterward.
Additionally, Lowey said she will fight to increase resources for federal initiatives to support survivors and prevent sexual crimes, such as the Campus Violence program within the Department of Justice, Department of Education investigations into crimes on and near college campuses, and the National Institutes of Health.