Two days ago, the Thrill reported on Feministing.com’s claim that Kenyon College was one of twenty schools that failed to comply with the Clery Act in regards to reporting statistics of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, as well as questioning the validity of the zero cases of sexual assault Kenyon reported in 2013. This claim was based on incomplete information, and therefore resulted in an article that did not rely on a full understanding of the facts. We regret any confusion this has caused in the community, and therefore have created a comprehensive guide to reporting sexual offenses and how they pertain to the Clery Act.
Updated — Kenyon has released a News Bulletin expressing its intent to review the 2013 annual security report. Kenyon has also reached out on Twitter, responding to students who expressed unease with the College’s report. A sample Tweet, as well as the full text of the News Bulletin, can be seen below.
When reporting a case of sexual assault, a Kenyon student has several options, as Charlie Collison ’15, co-facilitator for the SMA program, explains over email:
One of the roles of the SMAs (or anyone else with confidentiality) is that we present anyone who comes to us with the options they have in the event of sexual misconduct. This includes (but is not limited to) keeping the event confidential between us, seeking help at the Counseling Center, talking to the Title IX Coordinator about the incident, or filing a report with Campus Safety / the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. The individual can also choose any one of these options at any time, even if it is months or years after the event occurred. Since Kenyon has the good fortune of having individuals with confidentiality in various parts of our community (and that community members are mostly, if not entirely aware of how to access us), survivors usually talk to one of us or are referred to the Title IX coordinator before proceeding into legal action.
The Clery Act statistics published by Kenyon and referenced in the Feministing article pertain only to events of sexual assault that a survivor has chosen to bring to the level of a criminal case. While it initially appeared that zero total instances of sexual misconduct were reported, as an outsider, a person would be unaware that there are several conduits through which students can report any of these cases, and that what is available only constitutes criminal cases (i.e. cases pursued through Knox County Sheriff’s office). When all options for reporting are taken into account, in 2013 Kenyon had 18 cases of sexual misconduct, one of which was an instance of dating violence. These reports were filed through the Counseling Center, SMAs, or the clergy members.
Currently, this information can be found on page 37 of the Student Handbook:
Will the thrill then retract its unwarranted criticisms fom the post which paraphrased (as an excuse for journalism) the feministing piece ? As a former SMA cohead, I was troubled by the allegations in the previous post which laid blame on the mechanisms which have long served students’ welfare with dignity and respect but I would be more troubled by student publications not taking the time to do their own research and smearing the good work folks like charlie here and the counseling center are doing. The thrill has a bad track record when it comes to shooting first and asking questions later but, on an issue such as this which demands the utmost delicacy, to publish with wanton abandon does much more harm than good.
“Two days ago, the Thrill reported on Feministing.com’s claim” is a little misleading – the Thrill simply repeated the claim, failing to investigate it at all.
I’m aware that this is a blog, rather than a newspaper, but surely the Kenyon (and Collegian) community can do better next time.
A simple search of “clery act” on Kenyon’s website will take you to the information that has been reported to Campus Safety. It takes five seconds. The Thrill should really at least try to research their claims before they make them…it’s common practice in journalism to do so.
Did you read this article?
This blog post incorrectly claims that “The Clery Act statistics published by Kenyon…pertain only to events of sexual assault that a survivor has chosen to bring to the level of a criminal case.” This is simply not true. Kenyon (like all colleges) is required under the federal Clery Act to disclose all statistics “gathered from campus police or security, local law enforcement and **other school officials** who have ‘significant responsibility for student and campus activities.'” These officials may include the Title IX coordinator, athletic director, or professor of women and gender studies, just to name a few (in other words, not just the Know County Sheriff’s Office). More information on the Clery Act is available here: http://clerycenter.org/summary-jeanne-clery-act.
Further, the Clery Act is crystal clear that this data must be published online in the Clery Act Annual Security Report — *not* in the Student Handbook.
Finally, even the Student Handbook (which, again, is not the correct place to publish this data), STILL fails to disclose the number of domestic violence and stalking reports received in 2013.
Your original blog post and the Feministing article were 100% correct. Everyone else: please actually read the law before commenting next time!
In response to one of your points, ASRs do NOT need to be online, though many schools choose to include all of their data online. At least, that’s what it says here: http://clerycenter.org/what-annual-security-report-asr . Where did you find that the Clery Act says that ASRs must be posted online?
In response to another of your points, the Student Handbook includes “stalking” in the definitions of both sexual harassment and sexual exploitation. The Handbook includes “domestic violence” as a subcategory of non-sexual assault. Both “stalking” and “domestic violence” are defined in the booklet and it follows that they are included in the data accumulation for these broader categories. So even if Kenyon doesn’t list separate categories for these (and perhaps there, in fact, were 0 cases) it isn’t as if Kenyon is neglecting them in their policies and data collection.
(1) The problem is that Kenyon calls this its Annual Security Report: http://www.kenyon.edu/directories/offices-services/campus-safety/crime-statistics-2/ but this Report lists sexual assaults as “0” and does not even bother to report dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking, as mandated under federal law.
(2) The Student Handbook (which is not the ASR anyway) does not list data for domestic violence or stalking. The Clery Act very clear requires colleges’ ASRs to state the number of incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, separated out (*not* accumulated in “broader categories” as you suggest). Even if there were 0 incidents of domestic violence, the Clery Act *still* requires Kenyon to explicitly say that. (And that low number in itself would be a cause for suspicion, as explained in the original Feministing piece.)
Please read up on the Clery Act and learn institutions’ responsibilities. Students and survivors will benefit!
I would encourage you to submit your comments in the form of a response to this article and the Collegian article published today to the Collegian to be published in the op-Ed section next week. My reading of this Feministing article and Clery Act information suggests to me that you are correct and clearly have a good grasp of the situation.