The State University of New York Board of Trustees unanimously approved Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed sexual consent policy that will address how the university system will prevent, investigate and prosecute cases of alleged sexual assault on its campuses.

The board made the move last Thursday at its meeting in Manhattan. The new policy mandates all 64 SUNY campuses to adopt a uniform definition of consent as “given by words or actions,” not simply the absence of “no.”

Under the policy, which takes effect in 60 days, SUNY must establish a statewide training program on its campuses for campus police and college administrators. All schools will have one statewide definition of sexual consent and must ensure that students can report cases of sexual violence to campus police officers or the local police department. The policy will also cover assault cases involving LGBT victims.

SUNY’s move came amid growing reports of campus sexual assaults nationwide, where many campus officials failed to intervene. Student groups and activists have been calling for action and federal intervention. They argued that colleges have failed to hold rapists accountable.

Calling on-campus sexual assault an “epidemic of sexual violence in this country that is truly disturbing and is inarguable,” Cuomo said policies have to be put on place to combat the growing problem.

“This is a societal problem. This is Harvard and Yale and Princeton, Albany and Buffalo and Oswego,” said Cuomo. “It is not SUNY’s problem by origination. I would suggest it should be SUNY’s problem to solve and SUNY’s place to lead. And I believe there is an advantage for SUNY to lead here.”

He added, “One out of four college women will be a victim of sexual assault. It is breathtaking. Fewer than 5 percent of the rapes of college women are reported to law enforcement, which means the perpetrator, the rapist, can go on to rape again. Eighty to 90 percent of the time the woman knew the assailant.”

According to reports last month, 29 SUNY campuses said there were 238 cases of sexual violence and 145 cases of verbal sexual harassment during its 2013-14 academic year.

The university’s approach on how they will handle sexual assault cases is similar to a policy that California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law last week. All colleges and universities in California now define consent as an affirmative act, where both partners must express their desire to engage in each sexual act. The law pointed out that silence or lack of resistance does not constitute consent and someone who is drunk, unconscious or asleep cannot grant consent.

SUNY’s policy reads, “Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.”

Also, under the policy, SUNY will create a Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights, a document that is expected to be distributed to all students. Students can also report those who might have been violating laws or campus rules, such as underage drinking.

Even though Cuomo’s policy only applies to SUNY campuses, he said that if it’s executed well, it might become a state law.

“We will codify it and hopefully pass it as a law in the state so it’s then imposed on all schools, public and private,” he said.

By March 31, 2015, each SUNY college must report progress of the sexual assault policy to the board trustees. The SUNY chancellor is also expected to make a report to the governor. Cuomo has appointed former sexual assault prosecutor Linda Fairstein as a special advisor overseeing the implementation of the policy.

Cuomo, who’s up for re-election this November, said he will propose the same policy for all of New York’s public and private colleges and universities.