Purchase College Students Demand Changes to School's Handling of Assault Cases

Several students came forward and told their own stories of being sexually assaulted and are calling on the school to protect their safety better.

Jonathan Gordon

Dec 6, 2022, 1:24 AM

Updated 494 days ago

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Students at Purchase College held a protest on campus Monday evening to demand that the school fix the way it handles harassment and sexual assault reports.
"We're tired, we're scared, and the way that they're dealing with these issues of protecting us and trying to figure out what to do with us is honestly an issue," said Purchase College first-year student Natassia Randall.
The group accuses the school of not taking their reports seriously, of having a system in place that discourages students from speaking up, and for taking too long to respond to allegations.
"We're not trying to deal with it anymore and we're taking matters into our own hands," said Randall.
The group is demanding the school improve its safety protocols, add staffing to its Title IX office and for swifter disciplinary action.
"It's more about getting peace for every victim on this campus that has been hurt before," said Channah Linnen, a first-year student at Purchase College.
The Jeanne Cleary Disclosure Act requires colleges and universities to publish an annual safety report each year that documents the past three years' worth of information on campus crimes, statistics, and security policies in place.
There were 10 reported rapes, nine instances of unwanted touching and nine cases of dating violence at Purchase College between 2019 and 2021, according to this year's report.
But students believe these numbers are underreported.
"We're not trying to deal with it anymore and we're taking matters into our own hands," said Randall.
The school put out a lengthy letter to the community in response to the planned demonstration on Monday evening.
It outlined resources available to students and linked back to the school's annual training during orientation.
"The campus is committed to fostering a safe community that empowers students to succeed...we take anything that gets in the way of our campus values very seriously, especially sexual assault," wrote Purchase College Chief Diversity Officer/Title IX Coordinator Lisa Miles-Boyce.
Some students said they have meetings planned with the school administration to discuss their concerns. Others added they will continue to rally until change happens.

Full statement from the coordinator:

As the new CDO/Title IX officer, I wanted to make sure you are aware of the resources available to you, along with the process and procedures related to reporting Sexual Assault.
First and foremost, the campus is committed to fostering a safe community that empowers students to succeed academically and to thrive in terms of their physical and mental health. Under this umbrella, we take anything that gets in the way of our campus values very seriously, especially sexual assault.
We are committed to a fair process for responding to sexual assault, including upholding all Federal, State, and SUNY policies and procedures. Due process requires that all members of the Purchase College community have the right to a neutral, thorough, and equitable hearing.
We understand that it is very difficult and emotional to come forward and report an incident. Please know that there are confidential resources available both internally and externally who can help you figure out how to navigate the process and can help ensure that you have all the support you need.
While we offer comprehensive training during orientation, please know that resources and information is always available to you via our website, and our Title IX Investigator, Jason Kane- Seitz, and I are always available to meet with you to go over policy or process, investigate complaints, or address any questions or concerns you may have.
I look forward to continuing to work together to create a campus climate that is inclusive, equitable, and safe for everyone.


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