In February, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York announced "Enough is Enough," a statewide campaign pushing for the passage of legislation proposed by Cuomo to combat sexual assault on campuses. The end of this year's legislative session, June 17, is approaching quickly, and in an effort to get the bill passed in time, Gov. Cuomo wrote an op-ed with Lady Gaga urging lawmakers to pass the bill.
Published on Billboard.com, the op-ed calls on New York lawmakers to pass what they hope will be "the nation's strongest laws to target campus sexual assault."
"This is a campaign that will protect students, and it's exactly what we need," the duo wrote in their call to action. "Without it [the bill], students at private institutions are more likely to be left at risk." Gaga and Cuomo state that the epidemic and mishandling of sexual assault on college campuses is turning the college experience into a "nightmare" for students.
Through this proposed legislation, Cuomo hopes to extend the strong policies that have been implemented in all State University of New York schools to private schools in New York as well. The measure includes the implementation of a statewide definition of affirmative consent and a statewide amnesty policy that will protect sexual victims from certain campus policy violations like drug or alcohol use. Campuses will also be required to distribute a Sexual Violence Victim and Survivor Bill of Rights that clearly advises students on available resources and legal rights.
"By passing legislation such as the bill currently before the New York State legislature, we can turn the tide on this issue so that students can realize their dreams on campuses that are safe spaces," Cuomo and Gaga wrote.
This is the second op-ed the governor has published on the subject. Toward the end of May, Cuomo authored a similar piece in Newsday.
Sexual assault on college campuses has received a lot of media attention in the past year. In May 2014, the U.S. Department of Education released a list of 55 schools that were under investigation for possible Title IX violations, and in April 2015, that number increased to 106.
In an interview with Howard Stern in December 2014, Gaga revealed that she was sexually assaulted by a producer when she was 19. The incident informed the song "Swine" on her 2013 album "ARTPOP." She also contributed the song "Till It Happens to You" to "Hunting Ground," a documentary about sexual assault on college campuses.