Letter from the Kenyon Board of Trustees on Title IX
An Open Letter to the Kenyon Community:
I am writing to the Kenyon community about Kenyon College Board of Trustees discussions at its meeting on April 28-29 and particularly concerning the subject of sexual assault and the events of the last week.
I start by emphasizing what every trustee, without exception, expressed about these events: our distress over what has occurred and our empathy for the people involved. Before we are trustees, we are first mothers and fathers; sisters and brothers; and partners, wives and husbands. Our greatest responsibility is to the students of this College we love—and to their safety and education.
Sexual assault is abhorrent to each and every one of us, and we have zero tolerance for it. As President Sean Decatur eloquently wrote last week, sexual assault is antithetical to Kenyon’s values. Indeed, it is antithetical to civilization itself.
Fairness is also a hallmark of Kenyon and of any civilization. The College's policy and procedures require the investigators to conduct an adequate, reliable, thorough and impartial investigation. As the U.S. Supreme Court long ago said of prosecutors: They must strike hard blows, but they must be fair blows as well.
With this in mind, the trustees spent considerable time at our meeting discussing these issues and how best our entire community could respond to what has occurred and learn from the recent events. We discussed our shared commitment to address these issues as a community—and to address them aggressively.
The board endorsed the statement issued on April 28 by President Decatur (https://blogs.kenyon.edu/notes-from-ransom-hall-a-higher-ed-blog/post/work-to-do/) and the audit of Kenyon’s Title IX policy and procedures. The board further emphasized that the College must continue and intensify its work both to foster a culture committed to the prevention of sexual assault and to ensure that its policy and procedures are appropriately tough and protect the safety of our students but, at the same time, are fair.
The board also established a special committee to support the efforts of the College, and the board asked to receive regular updates, including at each meeting of the board, on the College's progress.
We know our work on this difficult issue is never done. We have no more important mission than protecting our students, and we are committed to doing so in the finest traditions of this great College and the precious community we share.
Brackett B. Denniston ’69
Chairman of the Kenyon College Board of Trustees