College works with local partners to offer sexual assault prevention training for tavern owners

Village of New Paltz tavern owners, bar & restaurant workers, law enforcement and College staff at UCBASA training, March 6, 2019

Tavern owners and employees in the Village of New Paltz got an opportunity this month to participate in free trainings focused on sexual assault prevention and responsible alcohol service.

SUNY New Paltz partnered with the New Paltz Police Department, the Ulster County Crime Victims Assistance Program, the New Paltz Office of Community Wellness and the New Paltz Tavern Owners Association to bring Ulster County Bystanders Against Sexual Assault (UCBASA) training to the Village on Wednesday, March 6.

UCBASA is a locally focused program, launched in 2018 by Ulster County Executive Michael Hein, that delivers bystander training to regional restaurant and bar staff to help prevent sexual assaults before they occur.

“Our goal and priority is to promote a sense of safety for our students, both on and off campus,” said Emma Morcone, the College’s deputy Title IX coordinator and LGBTQ coordinator. “It’s important, especially for our students, to know that tavern owners and the community are prioritizing their safety and well-being.”

This partnership will also offer Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS) sessions. TIPS is an internationally recognized training for the responsible service, sale, and consumption of alcohol.

One of the most important goals of these trainings is to empower bar and restaurant staff to serve as allies to patrons who may otherwise not know where to turn for help.

“Tavern employees who complete this training wear ‘Ask me about TIPS/UCBASA’ pins, so students can feel comfortable asking them for support should they find themselves in a dangerous or distressing situation,” said Jaclyn Cirello, the College’s prevention coordinator. “We hope that this campaign will inspire more taverns and restaurants to have their employees trained in both TIPS and UCBASA.”

The training also offers guidance to tavern workers to identify situations in which their intervention might be necessary to defuse a dangerous situation.

“It’s about recognizing and reacting to the things they’ve seen as professionals in this environment, whether it’s calling the police or soliciting a friend,” said Joseph Snyder, chief of the New Paltz Police Department.

SUNY New Paltz has worked for years with local tavern owners, law enforcement and community leaders to reduce underage and excessive drinking among students and prevent sexual assaults and other violent crimes in New Paltz.

This free training deepens relationships between the College and local establishments, thanks to support from the NP SAFE (Substance Awareness for Everyone) Coalition, an outgrowth of a state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services College Prevention grant that SUNY New Paltz received in 2017.