Category Archives: Information

Email for Chancellor Syverud

Below is an email response from the Chancellor that was sent out to students.

July 1, 2014

Dear Orange Friends:

As we enter the heart of summer, which gives us all time to reflect, I have been thinking a lot about two tough issues.

The first is the integration and alignment of the services of the Advocacy Center with the Counseling Center and the offices of Student Assistance and Health Promotion. I know change is hard and this has been a tough change for some students and campus community members.

This change was made for the most important of reasons: to provide the best possible service to students affected by sexual violence. This includes providing completely confidential and privileged services under recent federal guidelines and state law that allows survivors to make choices that are right for them as they seek support. This new structure is the same as other similar and well-respected centers in Syracuse, including Vera House and the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center.

I have heard from students, faculty, staff and other supporters of the Advocacy Center and I respect and value their passionately held views about its importance. I do not intend to revert to the previous structure, but I do want to preserve within the new structure the positive contributions the Advocacy Center made to our campus community. To ensure this occurs, I will be appointing a Chancellor’s Workgroup on Sexual Violence Prevention, Education and Advocacy, which will include students, faculty and staff representatives. The workgroup will provide Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz, senior vice president and dean of student affairs, and her staff with ideas, suggestions and proposals for how aspects of the Advocacy Center’s programs and services can be better integrated within the new structure. While I want this effort to begin right away, I expect the workgroup’s activities won’t fully begin until everyone returns to campus in August.

The second issue I have been reflecting on is freedom of speech. I’ve learned that when people are passionate about issues we (including me) occasionally say things that annoy or offend others. Yet it is vital, at a great university, that people become passionate about ideas and issues and that we hear from those with different, passionately held views. For that reason, I think we should be very careful before trying to punish “offensive” or “annoying” speech. The best response, I believe, to speech that offends or annoys us is more speech, hopefully civil and responsible. In any event, during this July 4th week, I want you to know I am a believer in free speech and I hope to model that in the future.


Chancellor Kent Syverud


NYS Confidentiality for Advocates

The following two documents were prepared by the American Bar Association regarding Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Advocates confidentiality and confidentiality laws state by state.

NYS specific info can be found on pg 26/27 in the “Summary” document and on pg 8 of the “2014 Advocate Confidentiality” document.

OCR Title IX Q&A Document

OCR Title IX Q&A Document

The Department of Education and Office for Civil Rights released a Question and Answer document pertaining to prevention of sexual assault and harassment on college campuses and Title IX requirements. Especially important section on page 27: “OCR recognizes that some people who provide assistance to students who experience sexual violence are not professional or pastoral counselors. They include all individuals who work or volunteer in on-campus sexual assault centers, victim advocacy offices, women’s centers, or health centers (“non-professional counselors or advocates”), including front desk staff and students. OCR wants students to feel free to seek their assistance and therefore interprets Title IX to give schools the latitude not to require these individuals to report incidents of sexual violence in a way that identifies the student without the student’s consent. These non-professional counselors or advocates are valuable sources of support for students, and OCR strongly encourages schools to designate these individuals as confidential sources.”


Thanks to Tess Perselay for pointing out this section!

White House Task Force Report regarding confidentiality

This is a direct quote from the first report from White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The report was issued on April 29, 2014.

“Someone a survivor can talk to in confidence:
While many victims of sexual assault are ready to file a formal (or even public) complaint against an alleged offender right away – many others want time and privacy to sort through their next steps. For some, having a confidential place to go can mean the difference between getting help and staying silent.

Today, we are providing schools with a model reporting and confidentiality protocol – which, at its heart, aims to give survivors more control over the process. Victims who want their school to fully investigate an incident must be taken seriously – and know where to report. But for those who aren’t quite ready, they need to have – and know about – places to go for confidential advice and support.

That means a school should make it clear, up front, who on campus can maintain a victim’s confidence and who can’t – so a victim can make an informed decision about where best to turn. A school’s policy should also explain when it may need to override a confidentiality request (and pursue an alleged perpetrator) in order to help provide a safe campus for everyone. Our sample policy provides recommendations for how a school can strike that often difficult balance, while also being ever mindful of a survivor’s well-being.

New guidance from the Department of Education also makes clear that on-campus counselors and advocates – like those who work or volunteer in sexual assault centers, victim advocacy offices, women’s and health centers, as well as licensed and pastoral counselors – can talk to a survivor in confidence. In recent years, some schools have indicated that some of these counselors and advocates cannot maintain confidentiality. This new guidance clarifies that they can.” (p2-3)