Andrew Cuomo: Police Should Deal with Campus Rape, Not College

Who does he sound like?


Andrew Cuomo
Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently made some fascinating comments about the campus rape crisis. According to syracuse.com:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is turning up the pressure on private colleges and universities -- and urging victims to seek off-campus help from law enforcement officials to investigate rapes and assaults -- as he tries to force education leaders to adopt a set of state policies on handling sex crimes.

"If someone gets shot on a campus, that is not an academic matter," Cuomo said today during a cabinet meeting in Albany. "You would call the police." The same should be done when someone claims he or she is raped, he said.

Colleges, Cuomo said, have incentives to investigate serious crimes within campus to keep the prevalence of assaults from the public eye. Using campus police and faculty panels to adjudicate sex crimes can quickly become a "he-said, she-said," situation, the former attorney general said.

"It is not a campus matter," Cuomo said as he announced his "Enough is Enough" campaign. "It is not an academic matter….You have a right to go to law enforcement."

(Emphasis mine.) Well, what do you know? It sure sounds like Cuomo has been reading Reason. As I initially wrote in my response to Rolling Stone's University of Virginia gang rape story:

Cheating and raping are not related things. The former is in academic infraction deserving an academic punishment, like expulsion; the latter is a violent crime deserving a rigorous police investigation. Students who are confessed rapists shouldn't be expelled, they should be put in jail.

… Treating rape as akin to plagiarism, or copying off someone else's test, trivializes violence against women.

Or, as I wrote just yesterday regarding a case at a New York college:

… It's impossible for university tribunals to arrive at just verdicts, no matter how thoroughly their policies are revised. Advocates should give up on that front; their efforts would be much better spent reforming the criminal justice system to make it more accommodating to rape victims—so that the next [student] is not turned away by police and shown through a door that leads only to undue misery.

Cuomo is certainly not perfect—he's a fan of the dubious affirmative consent standard—but it's still refreshing to hear a politician say something non-idiotic about this issue.