capitalbuilding_120Tom Reed met with student-athletes from Keuka College Thursday to have a conversation about something very close to Reed: preventing sexual assault. Keuka College President Jorge Diaz-Herrera, Ph.D. and Reed watched Keuka’s fall sports teams practice on the campus’ Jephson Community Athletic Complex before about 100 student-athletes, Resident Assistants and student mentors gathered with Reed for a discussion of sexual assault awareness and prevention.

“Advocating against sexual assault needs to be everyone’s priority, it’s all of our job to stand up for what’s right,” Reed said. “On college campuses, where one in five women will be assaulted, we can’t underestimate the influence students have on the campus culture. The more students who use their voice to increase awareness and talk about sexual assault prevention, the safer all campuses will be.”

Reed, a former All-American Division III student athlete himself, related to the student-athletes in a personal way.

“I remember my days as a competitive swimmer in college and between balancing school work and practice, they were busy days,” Reed recalled. “We can all benefit though, from making more time to talk about ways to generate a cultural shift and send the message that sexual assault in any form will not be tolerated. We can reverse the current trend, better care for students and make college campuses safer.”

Reed took questions from students and listened to their ideas for generating a greater awareness of causes and ways to prevent sexual assault on campus. Students asked about NO MORE, a sexual assault awareness organization Reed is involved in, how students can get involved on campus to raise awareness and what legislation is pending in Congress now to make campuses safer. Earlier this month, Reed announced his co-sponsorship of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act in the House of Representatives. The bill strengthens accountability and transparency for colleges and universities, sets stiff penalties for a school’s non-compliance, requires training for on-campus personnel and gives students access to confidential advisors to use as a resource. The bill already has strong support in the Senate, with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand pledging her support.

Tom Reed is heavily involved in awareness and education efforts to help curb sexual assault. Just last week Reed was on campus at the State University of New York at Fredonia meeting with campus, law enforcement, counseling and medical personnel listening to their experiences handling sexual assault cases and brainstorming ways to heighten awareness.

Reed also held a roundtable at Ithaca College with representatives from Cornell University, Corning Community College and area district attorney offices to listen to ways to better protect students from sexual assault on campus.

Reed continues to work with local and national advocacy groups – including NO MORE – to speak up and out against sexual assault and domestic violence. Earlier this year Reed led his House colleagues in recognizing national NO MORE week and national Sexual Assault Awareness month.