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Regional police, health care agencies and advocacy groups came together Monday, Nov. 7, at St. Bonaventure University to sign a historic accord to help fight sexual assault and domestic violence.
"With this MOU, we can tangibly attest to the fact that what we say in our mission statement is authentic and not boilerplate," said Dr. Andrew Roth, university president.
Representatives from St. Bonaventure, Village of Allegany Police, Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, City of Olean Police, Cattaraugus Community Action, and Southern Tier Health Care System were on hand to sign a memorandum of understanding to assist each other in their response to reports of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
“St. Bonaventure’s mission and values are based on a deep respect for self, each other and community. Sexual harassment and violence undermine these basic principles and will never be tolerated in our community,” said Rick Trietley, vice president for Student Affairs.
The MOU formalizes the commitment of all parties to work together to provide trauma-informed services and education to students, employees, and survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
"This unique and shared mission is doing absolutely what's best, the way it always should have been," said Cattaraugus County Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb.
The MOU is also intended to ensure that investigations are comprehensive, aid in disciplinary proceedings, facilitate the prosecution of offenders, respect the legal rights of those accused of sexual assault and other gender-based crimes, and provide appropriate support to survivors.
The agreement aligns the university with proposed federal legislation — the Campus Accountability & Safety Act — that has yet to be approved. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) is among 36 U.S. senators pushing for the legislation. The MOU also aligns with the state's Enough is Enough legislation passed in 2015.
“St. Bonaventure will continue to be proactive in not only meeting the requirements of state and federal laws, but also in its efforts to be a regional and national leader in the prevention of sexual violence and other gender-based crimes,” Trietley said.
Through a partnership with Southern Tier Health Care System, Olean General Hospital, WCA Hospital in Jamestown and Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville provide sexual assault forensic examiner (SAFE) services to victims of sexual assault.
Sexual assault survivors are cared for by certified sexual assault forensic examiners in private SAFE rooms at the hospitals. All services are confidential and provided free of charge.
Sexual assault survivors can ask for SAFE services at any of the hospitals. Call Olean General Hospital at (716) 373-2600, Jones Memorial Hospital at (585) 596-4011 or WCA Hospital at (716) 487-0141 for more information.
Learn more about the SAFE Program by contacting Southern Tier Health Care System at (716) 372-0614 or at www.sthcs.org.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #6 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition.
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