Campus Report

Updates from Kenyon’s Office for Civil Rights

Office of Communications
September 16, 2019

Dear members of the Kenyon community,

Looking back at the 2018-19 academic year provides the opportunity to see where we have been as a community, and provides guidance on where we need to focus to ensure continued and collective growth. 

Year in Review: 2018-19

Staff. Kevin Peterson joined Kenyon College as civil rights and Title IX deputy coordinator on June 1, 2018, and brought with him over 10 years of higher education experience in the areas of residence life, student conduct, programming and Title IX investigative work. If you have not yet had the chance to meet him, please stop by Eaton Center North, 259 and introduce yourself. 

Policy. On July 1, 2018, an updated Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment Policy and process went into effect. This one-policy-one-process approach to addressing non-sexual reports of discrimination and discrimnatory harassment was approved by Student Council, Campus Senate, Staff Council and the faculty in the spring of 2018. The options for resolution, both formal and informal, mirror those detailed in the Sexual Misconduct & Harassment Policy: Title IX, VAWA, & Title VII. As anticipated, with increased educational outreach and a clearer reporting process, the Office for Civil Rights received more reports of discrimination and discriminatory harassment than in prior years: 35 total reports in the 2018-19 academic year, compared to 12 total reports received during the 2017-18 academic year. 

Programs. In October 2018, Dr. Lisa Wade, associate professor of sociology at Occidental College, visited Kenyon and discussed her research and recent book, "American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus." Approximately 50 students, faculty, and staff participated in discussion groups prior to her visit, using a discussion guide developed with assistance from sociology faculty members Marla Kohlman and Austin Johnson. In addition to her campus lecture, Dr. Wade met with 10 students during lunch and engaged in thoughtful discussion about Kenyon’s hook-up culture.

Education. Throughout the fall 2018 semester, 15 students voluntarily devoted over 10 hours of their time to assist in the review and selection of a new online education course. SafeColleges was chosen because the program content offers expanded options students indicated are important: Title IX and sexual consent; alcohol and drug training; an advanced course for upperclass students, which will be required for all members of the class of 2021 during the fall 2019 semester; Title IX training specially designed for international students; a course discussing creating a respectful campus for LGBTQ+ people; and a module for faculty and staff. 

Statistics. The chart below summarizes the total number of reports, as well as a breakdown of reports by category, made to the Office for Civil Rights beginning with the 2015-16 academic year, which is the year the office was established. Given the small size of our community, we publish data across multiple years to protect the identity of complainants and respondents.

Please note that the table below lists the total reports for each type of case followed by the percentage of total reports. "All Categories" includes all reports made to the office, even those not within the scope of the office.

Type of Case 2015-2016
Total Reports
All Categories 216 (100%) 310 (100%) 526 (100%)
Section 504/ADA 6 (3%) 7 (2%) 13 (0.025%)
Discriminatory Harassment
25 (12%) 47 (15%) 72 (14%)
Title IX, VAWA, Title VII 184 (85%) 237 (76.5%) 421 (80%)

Formal investigations made to the office are detailed in the following table beginning with the 2015-16 academic year and concluding with the 2018-19 academic year.

Year Formal
Responsible Not
26 1 13 13 9
18 5 3 15 1

Looking Ahead: 2019-20

Goals. The Civil Rights Advisory Committee was created in spring 2017 at the recommendation of Rebecca Leitman Veidlinger, the Title IX attorney who, in the fall of 2016, completed an audit of the College’s Title IX efforts. The committee is composed of constituents from all College divisions and departments, and it also includes student representatives. This year, the group will focus on three critical areas of Civil Rights work: accessibility, Title IX compliance and selection processes for college recognitions and student employment.

Programs. On October 22, 2019, during Common Hour, Dr. Elizabeth Armstrong, professor of sociology at the University of Michigan and co-author of "Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality," will discuss the research detailed in her book as well as the follow-up studies completed since its publication. 

And next semester, Dr. Emily Nagoski, an expert on women’s sexual wellbeing, healthy relationships and the prevention of sexual violence and harassment, will speak in Higley Auditorium on February 12, 2020, at 7 p.m. A gifted and engaging speaker, Dr. Nagoski is author of the New York Times bestseller "Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life;" her new book, "Burnout," was released in March 2019.

Proposed Changes from the Department of Education. In November 2018, the Department of Education issued a draft of proposed new regulations that would replace the interim federal guidance (PDF) issued in September 2017 regarding the enforcement of Title IX. The public period to comment on the draft regulations closed on February 15, 2019. At this time, the regulatory website detailing the timeline for the issuing of final guidance lists "09/00/19" as the anticipated date for final action. The College will continue to monitor the regulatory website and will issue a notice to the community with necessary updates. 

Samantha Hughes
Civil Rights/Title IX Coordinator