Governor Cuomo Announces More Than 140 Colleges and Universities Across the U.S. Have Downloaded NY-Developed "SPARC" to Help Prevent Sexual Assault on Campus

October 24, 2017

From the office of Governor Cuomo

Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Response Course Offered to Educational Institutions Across the Country to Increase Awareness, Prevent Violence on College Campuses

Announcement Coincides with Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that more than 140 colleges and universities have downloaded the Sexual and interpersonal violence Prevention and Response Course, or SPARC, a free online resource offered by the State University of New York, to help train students in the prevention of sexual, interpersonal and related violence. SPARC, which can be downloaded here, was developed by SUNY in partnership with the City University of New York, and with the support of individual campuses and the New York State Department of Health. The program encompasses training requirements under Title IX, the Clery Act as amended by the Violence Against Women Act and, for New York State colleges and universities, and New York's Enough is Enough legislation (Education Law 129-B).

"New York is leading the fight against sexual assault on college campuses and I'm proud that other colleges and universities across the nation are taking notice and are using the tools that we developed in this critically important cause," Governor Cuomo said. "This program is a vital resource for colleges and universities across the country to utilize to increase awareness of sexual assault on campuses, helping to secure a safer and healthier learning environment for all students."

"Two years ago, Governor Cuomo enacted the toughest policy in the nation to fight sexual assault on college campuses so it's no surprise that our SUNY schools are leading the way forward for college campuses across the country," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Response Course is providing students with the tools they need to fight sexual assault and other violence on campus."

"New York's 'Enough is Enough' law equips colleges and universities with some of the strongest guidance in the country, and SPARC is one of several resources developed by SUNY to not only ensure that our campuses are in compliance, but to share what we've learned with our peer institutions throughout the country," said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. "Each of SUNY's efforts in this area are driven by prevention, doing all we can to prevent violence before it occurs, and SPARC is leading the way. By continuing to build awareness and sharing resources, higher education will better ensure safe learning environments for all students."

"The SPARC curriculum, a collaborative effort between SUNY and CUNY, will help both systems better educate students about how to recognize and report sexual harassment and sexual violence," said CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken. "Our goal, like Governor Cuomo's, is to ensure a safe, healthy, and nondiscriminatory learning environment, free of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and that largely is already the case."

"We are proud to launch these resources more broadly today, on 'Wear Purple Day', part of Shine the Light on Domestic Violence, which recognizes and raises awareness for those harmed by domestic and sexual violence," said Joseph Storch, SUNY Associate Counsel and SPARC Project Coordinator. "SPARC is one of the many tools to create a comprehensive approach to educate students about healthy interpersonal relationships, consent, and sexual assault prevention, and importantly, it is an idea that came from our campuses and was designed in partnership with CUNY, DOH, and many others committed to this work."

The University at Albany and SUNY Oneonta played major roles in the development of SPARC, having helped to lay the foundation for the online system and curriculum.

"We are thrilled to partner with our colleagues across SUNY and are proud of the work done by the team in developing a program that can be utilized by campuses not only within the state, but also throughout the country," said Chantelle Cleary, Assistant Vice President for Equity and Compliance and Title IX Coordinator at UAlbany. "SPARC empowers students by providing them with critical information about sexual and interpersonal violence and about the way their institution responds to such incidents."

SUNY Oneonta Health Educator Rebecca Harrington said, "Sexual violence is complex. Online training is just one piece of the puzzle in regards to getting the necessary education out to every member of our campus communities. One of the first goals in prevention education is to teach people how to recognize sexual violence and SPARC was developed with that in mind. As an educator it is thrilling to know that your work has the ability to affect millions of lives. It has been an amazing opportunity to be a part of the team of individuals who created SPARC."

In April 2017, SUNY and CUNY partnered to launch the SPARC online training system to help colleges and universities in the training of students to prevent sexual, interpersonal and related violence. The system is designed to run as a course in BlackBoard or similar learning management systems to allow customization and personalization by colleges, enabling students, faculty, staff and institutional leaders to train one another and provide information directly relevant to their campus environment, policies and resources. The system is offered to colleges and universities at no cost.

Since New York launched SPARC in April of this year, representatives from 140 colleges across the country, which educate more than 1.5 million students, have downloaded SPARC and are actively customizing the SUNY developed training for their own use. Another 250 registrants from colleges in 35 states and three Canadian provinces are actively investigating using SPARC.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school and business in the state. In 2015–16, SUNY served nearly 1.3 million students, including nearly 600,000 in credit-bearing courses and programs and more than 700,000 through continuing education and community outreach programs. SUNY students and faculty across the state make significant contributions to research and discovery, resulting in nearly $1 billion of externally sponsored activity each year. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.


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