The New York State Senate and Joe Robach gave final legislative passage to a measure (S2753B) that will assist victims of violent crimes and students who may have gone missing by requiring the timely notification of law enforcement.

The bill strengthens the existing College Safety Act by requiring colleges and universities to notify law enforcement within 24 hours of receiving a report of a violent felony or when a student who resides in campus housing is missing.

The original Campus Safety Act was passed in 1999 after the disappearance of Suzanne Lyall, who has been missing since disappearing from the University at Albany on March 2, 1998. The Act required colleges and universities to adopt and implement plans for the notification to local law enforcement of any violent felony offense or missing person occurring at or on the grounds of each such institution.

The Campus Safety Act mandated that plans be created, and not that colleges and universities must report violent felonies and missing persons to local law enforcement.

This Senate legislation, supported by Joe Robach, strengthens the Campus Safety Act by clearly delineating that all violent felonies and missing persons would have to be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency as soon as practicable, but in no case more than 24 hours after it is reported to the college or university.

According to a report by the White House Council on Women and Girls, 1 in 5 college females are the victims of actual or attempted sexual assault, and only 12 percent of student victims report the assault to law enforcement. The report noted that campus assailants are often serial offenders: one study found that of the men who admitted to committing rape or attempted rape, some 63 percent said they committed an average of six rapes each.

This bill will help reduce violence on campuses and help ensure that crimes are properly reported to local law enforcement.

This legislation does not conflict with the federal Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights, which gives the victim of a sexual offense the right on whether or not to report such offense to local law enforcement agencies.

The bill will be sent to the Governor. For more information on this or any other Senate initiative, contact the office of Joe Robach.