Campus Report

Update from President Decatur about the 2017 Sexual Assault Campus Climate Survey

Office of Communications
September 12, 2017

Dear members of the Kenyon community,

The issue of sexual misconduct is of critical concern on college campuses across the U.S., and one we take seriously here at Kenyon. Kenyon’s Office for Civil Rights has reported regularly on our continued efforts to ensure that our policies and procedures represent today’s best practices, and that we are fostering a culture of awareness and shared responsibility for the well-being of our community. One of the tools we use to track our progress is the Sexual Assault Campus Climate Survey, developed by the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium. Kenyon was one of more than 50 colleges that participated in the first administration of the survey in 2015, and we did so again this year. By collaborating with our peers in the development and administration of the survey, we are able to provide important context for our own results and contribute to a more comprehensive picture of the climate surrounding sexual misconduct on college campuses generally.

Results from both the 2017 and the 2015 survey are publicly available on the Kenyon website at This year’s survey was deployed to all Kenyon students from January 18 to February 8. The response rate was 31 percent (550 of 1,791 students), up from 19 percent in 2015. More than twice as many women than men completed the survey, and first-years through seniors were well represented in the responses.

A key finding in the 2017 survey is that 11 percent of respondents reported that they had been sexually assaulted at Kenyon, using the survey’s definition of sexual assault. This is comparable to the rates both at Kenyon in 2015 and at peer colleges across the country, highlighting the disturbing fact that Kenyon is not immune to this behavior. We must not relent in our efforts to end sexual misconduct on our campus.

Much work has been done over the past two years to build awareness about sexual misconduct, and the survey results suggest that students are better able to identify sexual assault now than in 2015. Additionally, 96 percent of students reported that they received education about sexual assault and how to prevent it, versus 88 percent in 2015. Three quarters of students said that had received training on the procedures for investigating a sexual assault compared to less than half in 2015. This is important progress.

This year we will introduce more formalized and comprehensive bystander training, which aims to help the campus community develop skills to intervene safely in situations of concern. The Title IX Advisory Committee is reviewing two bystander intervention programs in use at other colleges and universities: Green Dot and Bringing in the Bystander. According to the 2017 survey, relatively few assaults happened in the presence of bystanders at Kenyon, but, in those cases, bystanders did not always intervene. By contrast, survey respondents said they feel safe (86 percent) and close to people (84 percent) on Kenyon’s campus. We have an opportunity to build on that trust, and to strengthen our collective muscle for taking care of one another.

To learn more about the resources at Kenyon and our policies regarding sexual misconduct, visit or contact Civil Rights/Title IX Coordinator Samantha Hughes at (740) 427-5825 or For more information about the survey, its implementation and resulting data, please contact Director of Institutional Research Erika Farfan at (740) 427-5571 or


Sean Decatur