The New York State legislature on Thursday approved a measure that requires all colleges and universities in the state to address the issue of bias crimes on campus, according to the statewide gay rights group Empire State Pride Agenda. Gov. George Pataki is expected to approve the bill. "This bill will help make New York's colleges and universities safer for all students, including gay and lesbian students, by requiring these institutions to address and prevent hate crimes on their campuses," said ESPA executive director Alan Van Capelle.
The bill calls for colleges and universities in New York State, both public and private, to inform every incoming student about bias crimes and the policies in place regarding bias crimes. It also requires institutions to file with the state education department their plan to educate students on the matter. In the bill, bias-related crimes are defined as those that are recognized in law under the Hate Crimes Act of 2000, which covers crimes motivated by hate toward a person's race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, age, disability, or sexual orientation. The bill also allows colleges to go further than state law in the types of bias crimes addressed, which, for instance, could include crimes based upon gender identity and expression.