Chancellor Johnson Announces SUNY’s Got Your Back Event at Cobleskill Campus

April 2, 2019

SUNY Initiative Assembles 50K Comfort Kits to Help Victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

Milestone Reach with Event at SUNY Cobleskill Today

Albany – State University of New York Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson announced an event at SUNY Cobleskill today to promote SUNY’s Got Your Back, an initiative to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, and build awareness of prevention programs to combat sexual assault on college campuses. Campuses will put together and distribute thousands of comfort kits for survivors of violence, and the 50,000th comfort kit will be assembled since the program’s inception in April 2016.

"SUNY’s Got Your Back sets a national standard for universities and organizations alike on how to raise awareness on the importance of ending sexual assault and domestic violence, and we are looking forward to providing resources to educate students, faculty, and staff at SUNY Cobleskill," said SUNY Chancellor Johnson. "As we reach the milestone of assembling the 50,000th comfort kit, we are inspired by the students and volunteers who continue this important work to help New Yorkers in need."

"At SUNY Cobleskill, our heart is as big as our mission and we are passionate about putting theory into action," said SUNY Cobleskill President Marion Terenzio. "Our vision calls for us to grow, to sustain, and to renew the world and its citizens, most profoundly, for those in need. We are proud to be part of "SUNY’s Got Your Back."

In 2018, SUNY’s Got Your Back received $5 million in funding through the state Office of Victim Services, which allows SUNY to supply and distribute 225,000 comfort bags to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence seeking help at hospitals, shelters, and rape crisis centers across the state.

The Office of Victim Services is providing the funding to SUNY over three years from money received through the federal Victims of Crime Act. The funding enables SUNY to purchase supplies for the bags and coordinate volunteers across the state to assemble them, including faculty, staff, and students on each of SUNY’s 64 campuses.

"At the Office of Victim Services, we are especially concerned about how young people are able to cope when they have been victimized by sexual and interpersonal violence," said OVS Director Elizabeth Cronin. "We provide help, healing and hope - and that is exactly what the SUNY's Got Your Back program is designed to do. These personal items let victims know that someone is thinking of them, that someone takes their victimization seriously, and that we are doing whatever we can to guide them on their path to healing."

The dates and locations of upcoming events include:

  • April 25 – Fashion Institute of Technology

About SUNY’s Got Your Back

SUNY’s Got Your Back provides the opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and community members from across New York State to create comfort kits for victims and survivors of violence, and to learn methods of better preventing and responding to violence.

Each comfort bag contains personal essential hygiene products to assist victims with self-care – soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb and deodorant -- a pen, notepad, a stress ball and an affirming message from a volunteer. Critically, the bags also contain information about available support services and educational materials intended to alert victims of their rights under state law. By enlisting the help of students to assemble the bags, the program will also help to raise awareness on SUNY campuses of sexual assault and domestic violence issues.

About the Office of Victim Services

OVS provides a safety net for crime victims and/or their family members who have been victimized through no fault of their own and have no other means of assistance. The agency compensates and reimburses eligible individuals and family members for medical and counseling expenses, funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and support, and loss or damage of essential personal property, in addition to other assistance.

In addition, the Office of Victim Services currently funds more than 200 victim assistance programs that provide direct services, such as counseling, crisis intervention, advocacy and legal assistance, across New York State. For more information about services offered by the agency, including eligibility guidelines, visit www.ovs.ny.gov or call 1-800-247-8035.

Additional Information and Resources

The New York State Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline (1-800-942-6906) offers help and information 24 hours a day in English, Spanish and other languages. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can call 711. New York State also supports and funds community-based programs to assist victims of domestic and sexual violence and other crimes, including these Domestic Violence Resources, a network of victim assistance programs funded by the state Office of Victim Services, and Sexual Assault and Violence Response (SAVR) Resources—a multi-lingual resource created by SUNY to support students or any New Yorker in need of information and support.

State law prohibits hospitals or other medical providers from billing victims of sexual assault for the cost of a confidential forensic rape examination, unless those individuals choose to have the bill sent to their insurance. In every other instance, providers must directly bill the state Office of Victim Services.

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. As of Fall 2018, more than 424,000 students were enrolled in a degree program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY served 1.4 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs in the 2017-18 academic year. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Its students and faculty make significant contributions to research and discovery, contributing to a $1.6 billion research portfolio. 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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