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New York Becomes Second State To Include Sexual Assault Charges On College Transcripts

CREDIT: LOUIS LANZANO, AP
CREDIT: LOUIS LANZANO, AP

On Wednesday, New York passed a law that will require a college student’s transcript to note that they were found responsible for sexual assault or more specifically, “expelled after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation.”

The law applies to both public and private universities. A student would be able to file an appeal to remove the note from the transcript a year after they are done with their suspension. If a student tries to withdraw to avoid those consequences, they will still have a note on their transcript that says they “withdrew with conduct charges pending.”

The transcript rule was part of a larger legislative package on colleges’ procedures for preventing and reporting sexual assault that has been championed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and sponsored by State Senator Kenneth LaValle (R) and State Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D). The bill also defines affirmative consent and distributes a “bill of rights” to students that alerts them to the fact they can report to law enforcement or campus police, as well as secure immunity over campus violations they committed at the time the assault occurred, such as drug use.

New York is the second state to pass legislation that notes sexual assault charges on college transcripts. Virginia enacted similar legislation in May. It was passed 97–3 by the Virginia House of Delegates and 38–0 by the Virginia Senate. One of the few legislators who voted against the bill, State Senator Thomas A. Garrett (D) bemoaned the idea that a student with an allegation “levied, say, in stone-roll magazine” would have a “life-altering” mark on their transcript, according to the Richmond-Times Dispatch.

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California and Maryland introduced legislation that would require transcripts to note sexual assault. The California bill, introduced by State Assemblyman Das Williams (D) in February, was ordered to the Senate earlier this month and referred to the education committee yesterday. Maryland’s bill, which was introduced by State Delegate Marice Morales (D), will not advance.

California Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D) has stated that she plans to introduce legislation that would notify colleges if a student who transferred from another school had a sexual assault record.