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Students at Hobart and William Smith Colleges meet with school officials

Updated: 07/15/2014 6:02 PM
Created: 07/15/2014 5:58 PM WHEC.com
By: Amanda Ciavarri

A scathing New York Times report puts a national focus on two colleges in Geneva for how those schools handle sexual assault. Now, students there are demanding change.

On Tuesday, students met with school officials to work toward improving the schools’ policies. The schools in question are Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva.

On Sunday, the New York Times highlighted a student on campus who claims she was sexually assaulted last year. She says she went to the school for justice and justice came up empty.

On Monday, several students on campus put together an online petition, hoping to convince the schools to update their policies to better serve and protect sexual assault victims.

After the article came out, many people were shocked and frankly disappointed. Many people came forward to say they want to fix the situation. On Tuesday, students and college leaders met to do just that.

For Ryan and some other students at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, those emotions quickly turned into "how can I help make a change?" This is what triggered the creation of a petition on change.org. The petition calls for the president of the colleges to make serious changes on how sexual assault cases are handled. For example, the petition calls for the current process to be made public and the funding of a rape/crisis hotline. More than 2,400 people have signed it in support.

The college is listening too. On Tuesday morning, Ryan and a few other students met with the president and another administrator.

Ryan Mullaney, student, said, “Which is really encouraging, so now we are talking about all the ways we can cooperate on these policy changes and making alterations on what already exists.”

The group has met before over the past year, but after the article this weekend, all involved came to the table Tuesday, ready to work together.

Mullaney said, “We are looking at revamping the sexual grievance board that exists on campus, to make it more sensitive and really just effective.  Because as it was outlined in the Times article, there are things that are often missed.

News10NBC did learn that starting this fall, there will be a rape/crisis hotline on campus for students. Also these meetings between students and administrators will continue regularly until both sides feel the system in place is working to keep everyone safe.





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