Response to the Department of Education's new guidance on campus sexual misconduct
Dear members of the Kenyon community,
On Friday, September 22, 2017, the Department of Education issued a letter rescinding the April 4, 2011, Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), and the 2014 Questions and Answers on Title IX & Sexual Violence which regulated how colleges respond to reports of sexual misconduct, and directed users to new guidance: the 2017 Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct. The Department of Education plans to offer a public period of notice-and-comment before issuing final guidance at a date not yet determined. One clear message conveyed in Friday’s letter is that the Department of Education will “continue to rely on its Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance, which was informed by a notice-and-comment process in 2001, as well as the reaffirmation of that Guidance in the Dear Colleague Letter on Sexual Harassment issued January 25, 2006.”
The College is committed to promoting and providing a campus environment that is free from sex-and gender-based harassment and violence. All members of the campus community must be able to learn in a setting that is safe and supportive. If an incident of sex-or gender-based discrimination or harassment challenges a person’s safety, the College will work tirelessly to treat all parties involved with fairness and sensitivity while fulfilling the College’s obligations as outlined in the Title IX & Intimate Partner Violence Policy.
Kenyon staff and College legal counsel have jointly reviewed the 2017 Q&A to ensure the College’s continued compliance with federal expectations. At present, the College’s Title IX & Intimate Partner Violence policy, published in July 2017, remains in compliance with both the previous as well as the newly issued federal guidance. For our students and employees, this means that Kenyon will continue to follow its established policies as it continues to promote a campus environment free from sexual harassment and all forms of sexual intimidation and exploitation.
As the Department of Education provides updated guidance, the College will evaluate its stated policies and procedures to ensure continued compliance. If at that time any portions of our established policy and/or process need to be changed, the entire campus community will be informed.
Any student or employee with questions about sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, support options, or the interim measures are encouraged to contact Civil Rights and Title IX Coordinator Samantha Hughes (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the Deputy Civil Rights and Title IX Coordinator Linda Smolak (email@example.com). Confidential resources include licensed counselors, clergy members, or medical staff. Students may also seek confidential guidance and support from a Sexual Misconduct Advisor or Peer Counselor. A list of other resources and supports is available on the Title IX & Intimate Partner Violence webpage.
Reports of sexual harassment and intimate partner violence can be made anonymously (do NOT include your name) or transparently (by including your name) through the College’s online anonymous reporting tool.
Every member of the campus community is encouraged to work together to foster a supportive and encouraging environment for all people. Demonstrating this support through words and actions will ensure safety and success for all our community members.
Civil Rights/Title IX Coordinator