SUNY Chancellor Johnson Assembles National Conference to Reduce Violence Against LGBTQI+ Students

July 8, 2019

New York State Experts and National Featured Speakers Convene in Albany

Zeke Thomas Joins for a Screening of his Documentary “Untold Story”

First National Keynote by Charlie Craig and David Mullins, Lead Plaintiffs, “Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission”

SUNY System Administration Building to Light in Colors of LGBTQI+ Pride Flag

Albany – State University of New York Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson will assemble a national conference to reduce violence against LGBTQI+ students on campus. SUNY, in partnership with the New York State Office of Victims Services, will host Sexual & Interpersonal Violence Prevention Education, Capacity Building, and Training in Response for Underserved Sexual and Gender Minorities (SPECTRUM), this week at the Albany Capital Center.

SPECTRUM will include New York State leading experts and national featured speakers from across the country for an audience of nearly 800 faculty, students, human resource professionals, community service professionals, lawyers, physicians, and organizers supporting the LGBTQI+ community.

“SUNY has some of the strongest programs and resources to prevent and respond to violence against our students, and as we have focused on supporting the LGBTQI+ community, the SPECTRUM conference became a forum for our campuses and others across the U.S. to share in solving for this issue,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson, who will be a featured speaker at the conference. “My thanks to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for his leadership in serving the community, as well as the Office of Victim Services and other state and non-profit partners for their support and collaboration.”

Office of Victim Services Director Elizabeth Cronin said, “OVS is committed to reaching all victims of crime and our partnership with SPECTRUM and SUNY’s Got Your Back helps us meet that goal. During Governor Cuomo’s tenure, New York has led the way in expanding assistance and protections for the LGBTQI+ community and OVS has improved access to services and expanded compensation coverage to include crimes that frequently target LGBTQI+ individuals: hate crimes and domestic violence. Individuals who are victims of these crimes but not physically injured are now eligible for financial assistance from the agency, an important change that recognizes individuals needn't suffer physical injuries to have their lives dramatically altered by crime."

SPECTRUM will feature New York State Attorney General Letitia "Tish" James, SUNY Chancellor Johnson, and Director Cronin, as well as SUNY Cobleskill President Merion Terenzio, SUNY Delhi President Michael Laliberte, Fulton Montgomery Community College President Dustin Swanger, and SUNY Potsdam President Kristin Esterberg. The conference will also include counsel, Title IX experts, trauma specialists, and other healthcare professionals.

There will be a number of firsts at the conference, including featured speakers Charlie Craig and David Mullins, lead plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. This case drew national attention after the couple walked into the Denver shop to purchase a cake for their wedding reception and were denied service for being gay. In addition, renowned activist and survivor, DJ Zeke Thomas, will join attendees for a screening of the documentary “Untold Story,” which he executive produced.

For more information about SPECTRUM, please visit:

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 types of help. Funding for compensation and reimbursement comes entirely from fines, fees and surcharges paid by offenders, not taxpayers.

The Office of Victim Services also funds more than 200 victim assistance programs that provide direct services, such as counseling, crisis intervention, advocacy and legal assistance, across New York State, in addition to, which connects individuals who have legal needs as a result of being victimized with resources and assistance. For more information about services offered by the agency, including eligibility guidelines, visit or call 1-800-247-8035.

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, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three 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 opportunities, visit

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