Office for Civil Rights Community Update — Summer 2017
The official conclusion of the 2016-17 academic year is an excellent opportunity to share a number of updates from Kenyon’s Civil Rights Office. A few of this year’s major highlights include: the completion of an external review of the Title IX/VAWA policy and investigation procedures by Rebecca Leitman Veidlinger; a presentation of The Hook Up, a sexual assault prevention program from Catharsis Productions; a performance of scenes from TAPE, a sexual assault awareness program, with a facilitated discussion by Bryan Doerries ‘98; and student-led initiatives including a series of hosted discussions through Student’s Corner, the inaugural meetings of the Student Council Title IX subcommittee, and a dessert discussion in the Horn Gallery.
Policy Update. Kenyon’s 2017-18 Title IX & Intimate Partner Violence Policy (previously the Title IX/VAWA Policy), which went into effect on July 1, 2017, reflects feedback and recommendations received through the external review process and subsequent campus conversations. Notable changes to the policy include:
- The section on Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse includes definitions for penetrative intercourse and non-penetrative intercourse.
- Although the full range of behaviors is articulated in the Scope of the policy, new subsections have been added to Section VI. Prohibited Conduct to clarify prohibited behaviors.
- Social aggression, damage to property, and attempting to or actual interference with an investigation have been added to the Retaliation section.
- Expansion of the list detailing off-campus resources.
Statistics. The publication of data is a key method to demonstrate the effectiveness of the policy and process. However, the data must be presented in such a manner as to not lead to the identity of the complainant. Therefore, data related to formal investigations facilitated during the past two academic years have been combined. Investigation data is reported by unique investigation opened. An individual may be counted in more than one investigation, as either complainant or respondent.
Reports made to the College’s Office for Civil Rights during the 2016-17 academic year increased by 35% from the 2015-16 year. Although it is difficult to attribute this increase to any one factor, it may reflect an increase in familiarity with the civil rights office, comfort with the staff, and/or knowledge of the campus civil rights policies.
Reports made to the College's Office for Civil Rights during the academic years 2015-16 and 2016-17:
|Type of Case||Total Number Reports||% of Total Reports|
Kenyon's Civil Rights Office handled 19 investigations (includes Title IX/VAWA, Section 504/ADA and discriminatory harassment cases) over the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years, combined. The number of formal investigations decreased between 2015-16 and 2016-17, but, again, it is difficult to attribute any increase or decrease to a single factor. We will continue to monitor this trend over the coming year; we will work with students to identify specific concerns they have as they consider whether or not to pursue a full investigation, and consider ways to minimize or eliminate any barriers that may exist.
Formal investigations completed during the academic years 2015-16 and 2016-17 (includes Title IX/VAWA, Section 504/ADA, and discriminatory harassment cases): Number of Formal Investigations = 26 (12% of total reports)
- Determined Not Responsible = 13 respondents or 50%
- Determined Responsible = 13 respondents or 50% Nine of 13 respondents were issued a sanction of either Suspension or Dismissal, which are the only sanctions permanently noted a student’s academic transcript.
Search Update. The search for a full-time Civil Rights/Title IX Deputy Coordinator was launched in February. The committee facilitated phone and campus interviews and decided not to extend an offer to any of the candidates. The position will be refined to place greater emphasis on attracting candidates with a master's degree in higher education, or similar field like social work, psychology, or public health, and the search will be reopened by the end of the summer. Linda Smolak will continue to serve as Civil Rights/Title IX Deputy Coordinator as the search process continues.