On Oct. 1, President Donald P. Christian and Title IX Coordinator issued a statement to the campus community regarding graffiti found on Sojourner Truth Library. The graffiti, done at some point over the weekend, was a message condoning sexual assault and was reported to school officials by a student.
The appearance of the graffiti comes on the heels of a statement from Gov. Cuomo’s office announcing that New Paltz “is among the state’s college campuses that have successfully complied with the Enough is Enough legislation, one of the most aggressive policies in the country to combat rape and sexual assault on college campuses,” according to the email. “The law requires colleges to adopt a clear set of comprehensive guidelines and procedures, and provides a uniform definition of consent, increased access to law enforcement and a statewide amnesty policy.”
The College has already removed the graffiti, taking quick action to preserve a safe, comfortable environment for all students. Campus police have identified the individuals responsible, who have “taken responsibility for their actions,” according to College spokesperson Chrissie Williams. The University Police Department (UPD) is not looking to file criminal charges though the College “may pursue appropriate remedies within our campus policies, consistent with our institutional values of inclusion and safety for all in our community.”
This is the second reported incident of offensive graffiti on campus in the past year, with the first occurring last November in Bouton Hall. However, offensive signage is not unfamiliar to New Paltz as last semester two signs were posted at gender neutral bathrooms in the Faculty Office Building indicating “preferred” gender.
“It is imperative that we as a campus community continue to encourage positive, educational, and supportive dialogue around the topics of rape and sexual assault,” Williams said. “This is vital to our continuous prevention work here at SUNY New Paltz and providing information on topics such as consent, respect, and bystander intervention is essential.”
Students who need emotional support because of this incident can contact the Psychological Counseling Center at 845-257-2920 or OASIS/HAVEN at 845-257-4945.
Individuals who find offensive signage are encouraged to contact UPD at 845-257-2222, their anonymous tip line, 845-257-2230, or via a silent witness form on the UPD website (http://www.newpaltz.edu/police/).