Sexual Assault Policy

Sexual assault is one of the most prevalent categories of serious crime on college campuses. New York State Penal Law lists numerous offenses that would fit into the category of sexual assault. Sexual assaults, including rape, are acts of violence and can happen to anyone regardless of age, sex, race, manner, or dress. Those who commit sexual assaults are subject to criminal prosecution. Students who commit sexual assaults are also subject to Cooper Union disciplinary proceedings.

On college campuses, sexual assaults often occur when one or both parties have been consuming drugs or alcohol. These so-called “date rapes” or “acquaintance rapes” are still crimes and are handled in court in the same manner as a sexual assault or rape by a stranger. The consumption of alcohol or use of drugs to the extent that a person becomes intoxicated or impaired is not an excuse for criminal behavior and is not a criminal defense.  

In New York State, having sexual relations with someone who is unable to give full and free consent is a crime. Recently, there have been reports on other college campuses that the drug rohypnol (roofies) and gamma hydroxybutyrate (GBH) have been used to facilitate sexual assault.

Sexual Assault Prevention Programs

All incoming Cooper Union students are required to attend an orientation which includes a public safety education and awareness seminar provided by The Office of Public Safety. This program is designed and administered by the Director of Public Safety in collaboration with the Office of Student Services and it features subject matter experts from the New York City Police Department’s Detective Bureau, Special Victims Squad, and Community Affairs Bureau. The information is developed in collaboration with community-based victim advocacy groups while the program is geared towards those students who will be residing in New York City for the first time and provides education, awareness and practical avoidance strategies for preventing sexual assault. 

What to Do if You Are Sexually Assaulted.

Victims of a sexual assault should immediately call 911 when it is safe to do so.   The victim should seek immediate medical attention and be transported to the nearest hospital. To get assistance in being transported to an emergency room, a victim should call 911; notify Cooper Union’s security guards or the Dean of Students’ office (212-353-4130).

The nearest emergency rooms to Cooper Union are at:

Beth Israel Medical Center
First Avenue and 16th Street
212.420.2840

Bellevue Hospital
First Avenue and 27th Street
212.562.4347

How to Make a Police Report. 

The Cooper Union strongly encourages victims of sexual assault to report it to both the police and the Director of Public Safety. If the victim chooses to make a police report, The Office of Public Safety will assist the victim by providing information and transportation.  The victim has the option to make a report and decide not to pursue it any further or proceed with a criminal prosecution.  The Director of Public Safety will notify the Dean of Student Services or the Assistant Dean of Student Services in order to provide all necessary support and resources to students who are the survivors of such an assault.

The Director of Public Safety will conduct investigations into all reports of sexual assault. The Title IX Coordinator will work in collaboration with the Director of Public Safety and each will keep the complaining student’s identity and other details of the investigation confidential to the extent possible in view of Cooper Union’s concurrent obligation to investigate and redress any reported incident of sexual assault. The Director of Public Safety will not divulge any details of a reported sexual assault, including the identities of involved students, to any person except as strictly necessary to conduct the investigation. All persons interviewed in connection with the investigation will be informed of their obligation to keep the contents of the interview in confidence, and will be subject to disciplinary action if they do not honor that obligation. All reported cases of sexual assault will be handled with sensitivity, understanding, and professionalism regardless of the gender or the gender of the accused, and the names will not be released to the public or the press.

Procedure for a Campus Security Authority (CSA) to Report a Sexual Assault.

Campus Security Authorities have an obligation and are mandated under the Clery Act, a Federal law, to report and record sexual assaults and sexual harassment.  The Cooper Union is required by the Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights Title IX , and Article 129-A of the New York Education Act  to investigate violent felonies including sexual assaults and harassment.  To comply with all applicable laws the following procedure will be required by all Cooper Union Campus Security Authorities.

Procedure:

Upon becoming aware of or informed by a Cooper Union student or employee that they have been sexually assaulted, or you are provided with credible information that another Cooper Union student or employee has been sexually assaulted: 

For sexual assaults that have just occurred on campus:

  1. The victim needs immediate medical attention. Dial 911 to request an ambulance and the police.
  2. Immediately notify The Director of Public Safety.

For a report of a past sexual assault:

  1. Get the facts about the possible crime using the “Fact Gathering Checklist.”
  2. Record the facts as completely and accurately as possible.
  3. Immediately notify The Director of Public Safety.
  4. Report the facts using the online CSA Report located at https://cooper.publicsafety

In an emergency situation you should always call the police by dialing 9-911 from any campus phone, or 911 from your cell phone.   

Counseling Services

Counseling for victims of sexual assaults is available through the Dean of Students’ office or through one of the following local services:

Rape Crisis Program
St. Luke’s Crime Victims Treatment Center
West Village Division
153 West 11th Street
212.604.8068

Sexual Assault Victim Assistance Program
Bellevue Hospital Center
Rape Crisis Program
First Avenue and 27th Street, Room C/D 408
212.562.3755
212.562.3435 or 212.562.4693
socialworker@bellevue.org

Dove Program
Presbyterian Hospital
622 West 168th Street
212.305.9060
212.305.2500

Safe Horizon
2 Lafayette Street #3, New York, NY 10007
212.577.7700

New York County District Attorney’s Office
1 Hogan Place, RM 231, New York, NY 10003
212.335.9040–Social Services
212.335.9633–Counseling

Change in Academic and Living Situations

If a student needs help in changing her or his academic or living situation in the aftermath of a sexual assault, the Dean of Students (212.353.4130) should be contacted for assistance.

Procedures for Campus Disciplinary Actions

To institute a disciplinary proceeding against a student, the complainant must file a written complaint with the Dean of Students. The Student Judicial Committee can then be convened.

Possible Sanctions by the Student-Faculty Judicial Committee

Students who commit sexual assaults are subject to Cooper Union disciplinary proceedings under the Code of Conduct andmay be warned, reprimanded, suspended or dismissed from the institution.

Under federal law, in cases of sexual assault, the Student Judicial Commiteemay disclose its findings, including any sanctions against the accused, to the complainant.

Sexual Offense in NYS Penal Law

Article 130-Sex Offenses


130.00 Sex offenses; definitions of terms.
130.05 Sex offenses; lack of consent.
130.10 Sex offenses; limitations; defenses.
130.16 Sex offenses; corroboration.
130.20 Sexual misconduct.
130.25 Rape in the third degree.
130.30 Rape in the second degree.
130.35 Rape in the first degree.
130.40 Criminal sexual at in the third degree.
130.45 Criminal sexual act in the second degree.
130.50 Criminal sexual act in the first degree.
130.52 Forcible touching.
130.53 Persistent sexual abuse.
130.55 Sexual abuse in the third degree.
130.60 Sexual abuse in the second degree.
130.65 Sexual abuse in the first degree.
130.65a Aggravated sexual abuse in the fourth degree.
130.66 Aggravated sexual abuse in the third degree.
130.70 Aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree.
130.75 Course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree.
130.80 Course of sexual conduct against a child in the second degree.
130.85 Female genital mutilation.
130.90 Facilitating a sex offense with a controlled substance.
130.91 Sexually motivated felony.
130.92 Sentencing.
130.95. Predatory sexual assault.
130.96. Predatory sexual assault against a child.

130.00 Sex Offenses; Definitions of Terms

The following definitions are applicable to this article:

1.     “Sexual intercourse” has its ordinary meaning and occurs upon any penetration, however slight.

2.     (a) “Oral sexual conduct” means conduct between persons consisting of contact between the mouth and penis, or the mouth and the anus, or the mouth and the vulva or vagina. (b) “Anal sexual conduct” means conduct between persons consisting of contact between the penis and anus. (Eff. 11/1/03, Ch.264, L.2003)

3.     “Sexual contact” means any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person not married to the actor for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire of either party. It includes the touching of the actor by the victim, as well as the touching of the victim by the actor, whether directly or through clothing.

4.     For the purposes of the article “married” means the existence of the relationship between the actor and the victim as spouses which is recognized by law at the time the actor commits an offense proscribed by this article by against the victim. (Eff. 11/1/03, Ch.264, L.2003)

5.     “Mentally disabled” means that a person suffers from a mental disease or defect which renders him/her incapable of appraising the nature of his or her conduct.

6.     “Mentally incapacitated” means that a person is rendered temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling his/her conduct owing to the influence of a narcotic or intoxicating substance administered to him/her without his/her consent, or to any other act committed upon him/her without his consent.

7.     “Physically helpless” means that a person is unconscious or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.

8.     “Forcible compulsion” means to compel by either: (a) use of physical force; or (b) a threat, expressed or implied.

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  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

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