SUNY Chancellor Announces SUNY’s Got Your Back Event at Empire State College in Manhattan

September 18, 2019

Effort Will Assemble 2,000 Comfort Kits for Victims of Sexual Assault

New York City – SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson announced that Empire State College will host its first SUNY’s Got Your Back event today at its Manhattan offices. SGYB is an initiative to bring awareness to sexual assault and domestic violence, while providing comfort kits to victims.

The event will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. at 325 Hudson Street, 3rd Floor, in the Multipurpose Room. Approximately 200 people, including students, alumni, faculty, and staff, are expected to assemble the kits. The kits will be distributed to rape crisis centers, hospitals, and shelters in the greater New York City area.

"SUNY’s Got Your Back calls attention to the problem of sexual assault and domestic violence, while providing tangible support to survivors of this violence," said SUNY Chancellor Johnson. "We are pleased to have Empire State College President Jim Malatras and his team keep the momentum growing to both raise awareness of this issue and give support to the survivors."

"’SUNY’s Got Your Back’ comfort kits demonstrate support, compassion, and empathy, which we hope will be a source of strength for victims as they begin to recover," said Jim Malatras, president of SUNY Empire State College. "During 2016, I was proud to be a part of the launch of Governor Cuomo’s ‘Enough is Enough’ program, the state’s law on campus sexual violence. Chancellor Kristina Johnson’s leadership on this critical issue has raised needed awareness, aided victims, and reduced the incidents of sexual violence. Together with our chancellor, SUNY campuses, and the state Office of Victim Services, we will continue collaborative efforts to address this critical issue now, and in the future."

SUNY’s Got Your Back was launched in 2016, and was expanded in 2018 with $5 million from the state Office of Victim Services. The funds enable 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. SUNY coordinates volunteers across the state to assemble the bags.

About SUNY’s Got Your Back

SUNY’s Got Your Back provides the opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and community members 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. The bags also contain information about support services and educational materials intended to alert victims of their rights under state law. By enlisting the help of students, the program helps raise awareness sexual assault and domestic violence issues on SUNY campuses.

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 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, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, 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 2022, 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

Share this:


Holly Liapis
Email the Office of Communications