Campus Report

Office for Civil Rights Community Update

Office of Communications
March 31, 2017

Dear Kenyon Community,

Spring break has come and gone, spring sports are in full competition mode, and the calendar is filled with exciting speakers, programs and deadlines. In this second community update, I will highlight the work that filled the days of the first half of the semester and map out the plan for the remainder of the academic year.

Programming update. On Feb. 23, Kenyon welcomed back Bryan Doerries '98 and Brendan Griffin '02 for a dramatic reading of scenes from "TAPE," an innovative theater project produced by Theater of War Productions, a company co-founded by Doerries. The project was designed to provoke powerful, thoughtful discussions about consent, power dynamics and sexual assault. Actor Josh Hamilton of "Manchester by the Sea" and Kathryn Erbe, a longtime "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" star, participated in the reading. Read the Collegian's review of the event.

A dessert and discussion will be held in the Horn Gallery on Thursday, April 20, at 7 p.m.The focus of the discussion will be an article from The Cut, "The Game is Rigged: Why sex that’s consensual can still be bad. And why we’re not talking about it." The article was brought to the attention of Samantha Hughes by Emma Klein '17, who will co-host the event.

Search Update. The search for a full-time civil rights/Title IX deputy coordinator was launched Feb. 3. The search committee, chaired by Samantha Hughes, is composed of representatives from the faculty, student and staff communities. The committee is currently conducting phone interviews and will soon identify 2-3 finalists to invite to campus for a full day of interviews. All members of the campus community will be invited to interact with the candidates and asked to share their feedback with the search committee. It is the goal of the committee to identify the successful candidate by the close of the academic year.

Policy Review Opportunities. The Title IX staff held an open forum Thursday, March 30, in Peirce Lounge to hear thoughts, suggestions and questions from community members related to the Title IX/Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) policy. Individuals unable to attend the common hour were also able to schedule private sessions with either Linda Smolak, deputy civil rights/Title IX coordinator, or Samantha Hughes.

Continuing to follow recommendations received as part of the Title IX audit, members of the LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee will meet with Samantha Hughes over the coming weeks to go through the policy, paragraph by paragraph, and recommend changes to ensure the policy language is inclusive for all regardless of gender, identity or sexual orientation.

The final phase of the policy review involves incorporating the suggestions, where appropriate. This step will take place after the conclusion of the academic year. Many of the changes that will appear in the 2017–18 policy will be semantic in nature, including the elimination of heteronormative language — a clear recommendation made by Rebecca Veidlinger in her review. Suggested changes that would have a direct impact on the established process will be reviewed in more depth during the 2017–18 academic year and ultimately approved by Campus Senate, Staff Council and the Faculty Affairs Committee before being implemented into the text of the policy and process.

Title IX Team. This small group, composed of the dean of students, registrar, dean for academic advising and  support, director of campus safety, controller, and civil rights/Title IX coordinator, met for the first time on Feb. 14 and will continue to meet regularly for the remainder of the semester. The focus of the work is very task-oriented.  For example, the team is currently discussing accounting-related issues that arise as a student progresses through a process to ensure consistent application of the College's Title IX and VAWA policy and procedure.

Title IX Advisory Committee. The inaugural meeting was held March 1 in the Leach Private Dining Room. The group, composed of a representative from each College division and two student representatives, reviewed the mission of the committee and shared areas of success as well as areas in need of enhancement when supporting Title IX initiatives. Erika Farfan, director of institutional research, discussed the results of the Faculty and Staff Campus Climate and Sexual Assault Survey. The survey results, the first for Kenyon, can be downloaded as a PDF. These results, combined with the results from the 2015 and 2017 Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS) surveys, and the heat map survey, will serve as guideposts as the committee establishes collegewide programs and initiatives to further support a campus environment free from gender-based discrimination.

The Title IX Advisory Committee members are:

  • Samantha Hughes, civil rights/Title IX coordinator
  • Marne Ausec, director of the Center for Global Engagement
  • Scott Baker '94, associate vice president of alumni and parent engagement
  • Meredith Bonham '92, vice president for student affairs
  • Robyn Bowers, senior associate director of admissions
  • Jennifer Cabral, director of human resources
  • Jay Corrigan, professor of economics
  • Erika Farfan, director of institutional research
  • Lacey Filkins, associate director of new student programs
  • Suzanne Helfant, head women’s basketball coach/senior women’s administrator
  • Bob Hooper, director of campus safety
  • Marla Kohlman, professor of sociology
  • Lori Moore, assistant manager of facility services
  • Jan Thomas, senior associate provost
  • Gianna Biaggi '17
  • Masen Colucci '19
  • Sarah Speroff '18

Your comments, suggestions and questions are encouraged. Please contact me directly at to provide your perspective and feedback.

Samantha Hughes

Civil Rights/Title IX Coordinator
(740) 427-5825