Alumni Respond to Title IX Concerns with Open Letter

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Friday, April 29th, 2016

Dear President Decatur,

On Wednesday, April 27, a private online forum was created for alumni to share thoughts, concerns, and ideas in response to the blog post in which Michael Hayes detailed his sister’s rape and its aftermath. The group was created out of concern about sexual assault and violence on campus and, as of this afternoon, had over 900 members and continues to expand. In addition to showing solidarity with current students and sharing our own experiences with these issues, we hope to promote changes in policies and procedures that benefit the entire Kenyon community.

The forum is private in order to keep the thoughts and concerns of its members safe, but we want to share our perspectives with you here. This letter is written in the true spirit of the Kenyon community – it incorporates the voices of graduates from across class years, including former sexual misconduct advisors, victims of sexual assault (both on campus and off), and concerned allies. Unfortunately, many of us who are sexual assault survivors or friends of survivors painfully identify with Chelsie Hayes’ story; we fear there has long been a pattern of sweeping issues of sexual assault and violence on campus under the rug.

Our goal is not to attack or shame Kenyon. We all had important, formative experiences there, and many of us continue to look back on our days at Kenyon with fondness and nostalgia. Rather, our goal is to encourage the administration to institute policies that will change the culture, as well as the judiciary proceedings, surrounding sexual misconduct on campus. Kenyon – both the institution and community – must support and fight for justice for victims of sexual assault. We believe Kenyon has the capacity to lead, not follow, when it comes to compliance with Title IX and creating a culture of respect, understanding, and compassion.

During the process of your deliberation, and as part of the external review, there are several action items we think the college must address to ensure that Kenyon is a place where, first and foremost, sexual assault does not happen:

Implementation of policies and programs that not only deal with sexual assault once it has occurred, but works to prevent it from ever occurring. Infrastructure and support for students who are assaulted on and off campus must be improved through better funding and proper staffing and trauma training for the Counseling Center.

Sexual Misconduct Advisors: SMAs need a more thorough vetting and training process, as well as sufficient funding for increased campus programming. Counseling Center: It is clear that the Counseling Center needs more funding and education about how to respond to student concerns. We have heard stories of students not receiving adequate aid from counselors in the wake of sexual assault. This is not because of a lack of concern, but rather because the counseling center is understaffed and counselors are over-worked.

First-Year Programming: First-year programming, including Beer & Sex and Real World Gambier, need to be reassessed. While these are well-organized and important programs, freshmen are often unreceptive to their messages. Programming about sexual responsibility should occur throughout the year, and throughout a student’s time at Kenyon.

Implementation of community accountability approaches to sexual assault. Sexual and domestic violence often place the onus on the victim to report their assault and find ways to keep themselves safe. The College has an opportunity to foster a community in which victims receive explicit and implicit support from all levels (staff, faculty, and peers), and perpetrators are consistently held accountable.

Review and revision of the hearing process to be more transparent and efficient. In addition to being clearly outlined and disseminated, the hearing process should aim to reduce psychological distress, and guard the privacy and autonomy of vulnerable parties. Outcomes of all hearings should be made public and easily accessible, while maintaining the anonymity of involved parties.

As graduates, donors, and – most importantly – people who have shaped Kenyon and been shaped by it, we expect the voices of students past and present be involved in the upcoming audit of the college’s implementation of Title IX policy, as well as other decisions the College makes about matters of sexual misconduct. Please consider us allies when it comes to getting to zero tolerance of sexual assault and violence at Kenyon, and a safer, more compassionate campus culture.

Sincerely,

1. Jenny Ware ’15

2. Elena Brush ’15

3. Laura A King ’86

4. Lisa Jensen ’86

5. Charles Collison ’15

6. Priscilla Erickson ’09

7. Naomi Blaushild ’10

8. Kirsten Karakul ’03

9. Nicholas Lerangis ’09

10. Evan More ’15

11. Olivia Grabar Sage ’15

12. Jazz Glastra ’11

13. Phoebe Plagens ’05

14. Heather Benjamin ’04

15. Steven Schmidt ’15

16. Caroline Glaenzer ’14

17. Karen Martin ’08

18. Anna Bloom ’04

19. Amber Kraus ’15

20. Carmen Perry ’15

21. Jenny Ruymann ’15

22. Josephine Bode ‘ 01

23. Elizabeth Christensen ’04

24. Carl Weber ’02

25. Kelsey Vogt ’14

26. Emily Whalen ’06

27. Kate Kadleck ’15

28. Alexis Pace ’04

29. Lisa Isenhart ’04

30. Madeline Lebar ’15

31. Geoff Nelson ’05

32. McKinley Sherrod ’14

33. Casey McKone ’11

34. Jillian Arenz ’11

35. Lauren Johnstone ’15

36. Libby Gardner ’15

37. Kyra Mirante ’10

38. Janet Wlody ’13

39. Marielle Ebersol ’09

40. Fernando Rodriguez ’04

41. Katie Bonadies ’11

42. Michael Hayes ’14

43. Meghan Burnett ’03

44. Gordon Slater ’14

45. AJ Calabrese ’13

46. Julia Tomlinson ’15

47. Jane Jongeward ’14

48. Elise Shattuck ’14

49. Brigid Donahue ’11

50. Catherine Stetler ’05

51. Jen Baker ’11

52. Julia Bowie ’12

53. Emily Guy Birken ’01

54. Mary Jeanne Harwood ’11

55. Megan Buhr ’01

56. Jonathan Meyers ’10

57. Zoe Lyon ’15

58. Noah Detzer ’13

59. Katherine Greenberg ’13

60. Spencer Kaye ’14

61. Camila Odio ’11

62. Dulce Montoya ’14

63. Meaghan Pachay ’13

64. Gerry Zyfers ’84

65. Will Quam ’14

66. Armand Marciano ’15

67. Claire Bohnengel ’02

68. Sara Markt Whitmore ’03

69. Benjamin Jacoby ’14

70. Matthew Metz’13

71. Morgan Peele ’13

72. Erika Plank Hagan ’01

73. Rhiannon Suggs ’15

74. Heather McDonagh Tamez ’09

75. Kerry Strader ’14

76. Hugh Wilikofsky ’14

77. Lauren Toole ’14

78. Sam Colt ’14

79. Aaron Dripps ’14

80. Molly Bondy ’14

81. Dan Kipp ’14

82. Meghan Salas Atwell ’02

83. Rebecca Yarbrough ’09

84. Patience Fairbrother ’14

85. Adam Baker ’14

86. Natalie Margolin ’14

87. Isabelle Sanderson’15

88. David Miller ’13

89. Katie Moss ’15

90. Madeline Thompson ’16

91. Sarah Johnsrude ’13

92. Emma Munger ’14

93. Ryan Drake ’14

94. Colleen Damerell ’13

95. Cori Hirai ’07

96. Kip Pesses ’15

97. Dylan Kaye ’15

98. Brant Russell ’02

99. Yukiha Maruyama ’12

100. Sarah Schumacher ‘13

101. April Garrett ’92

102.Christopher Simon ’10

103.Emily Bettin ’03

104.Madeline Jobrack ’13

105.Clair Low Chow (John) ’03

106.Paige Zorniger ’12

107.Syd Lindblom ’14

108.Taylor Scult’15

109.Natalie Thielen Helper ’14

110.Reilly Brock ’12

111.Andrew Kahrl ’01

112.Sarah Bush ’12

113.Molly McCleary ’14

114.Alyssa Van Denburg ’12

115.Katie Warther ’11

116.Elin Matsumae ’15

117.Robert Sellers ’14

118.Sarah Schulz ’12

119.Jacob Armstrong ’01

120.Elizabeth Hansen ’10

121.Jon Green ’14

122.Veronica Medwid ’03

123.Maddy Jacobs ’15

124.Melissa Mooradian ’15

125.Matthew Culler ’03

126.Eliza Weeks ’13

127.Susan Livermore ’12

128.Katie Walkiewicz ’03

129.Amy Bergen ’04

130.Caroline Dultz ’15

131.Wayde Grinstead ’91

132.Mia Neidhardt ’12

133.Jessica Marroquin ’12

134.Zack Goldman ’12

135.Emily Sussman ’15

136.Matilda Bode ’99

137.Samantha Rapp ’14

138.Zoe Smith ’15

139.Ellie Tomlinson ’14

140.Isaac Jay ’14

141.Eleanore MacLean ’15

142.Sara Carminati ’13

143.Daniella Acker ’15

144.Lauren Rand ’06

145.Wyn Evans ’13

146.Taylor Ross ’13

147.Nicholas Rogers ’15

148.Rebecca Gorin ’14

149.Jake Weiner ’15

150.Katherine Tallman ’15

151.Kimberly Qualls ’12

152.Jennifer Garson ’06

153.Monty Clark ’13

154.Megan Connolly ’09

155.Perry Minella ’14

156.Kate Wellschlager ’04

157.Melissa Hart ’12

158.Schuyler Krogh ’15

159.Laule’a Gorden-Kuehn ’10

160.Cloie McClellan ’11

161.Adam Bulmash ’14

162.Hannah Ahern ’09

163.Tamara Parson-Anderson ’93

164.Grace Molloy ’14

165.Emma Miller ’15

166.Shirley Lu ’15

167.Sarah Hobbs ’15

168.Maria Rogers ’14

169.Kaitlyn Burd ’15

170.Jacob Williams ’14

171.Jenny Osman ’14

172.Rachel Bishop ’14

173.Gabriel Acinapura ’02

174.Erin Lynn ’04

175.Shirley Kailas ’10

176.Abby Scribner ’13

177.Aisha Simon ’15

178.Lucy Gardner ’11

179.Emily Marshall ’08

180.Rob Heavner ’15

181.Audrey White ’14

182.Celine Aenlle-Rocha ’15

183.Julia Flessel ’14

184.Caiti Crum ’00

185.Rachel Cunningham ’14

186.Lauren Katz ’07

187.Madeline Gobbo ’12

188.Emily Shapiro ’13

189.Molly Schlemmer ’08

190.Heather Amato ’13

191.Paul Hoehn ’14

192.Harry Hanson ’13

193.Laura Huss ’07

194.Lily Zwaan ’14

195.Emma Lo ’15

196.Chris Worth ’99

197.Lee Orr ’10

198.Callan Slavin ’10

199.Matthew Moore ’08

200.Kaitlyn Myers-Brooks ’10

201.Tory Bruch ’14

202.Katie Hardiman ’15

203.Megan Wolpert Dobkin ’95

204.Shannon Deoul ’08

205.Logan Bialik ’15

206.Kali Greff ’11

207.Rebecca Romaine ’15

208.Christine Prevas ’15

209.Samuel Ross ’14

210.Jeffrey Hechler ’12

211.Caroline Rotenberg ’10

212.Anna Peery ’14

213.Leah Missik ’10

214.Anna Kephart ’10

215.Katie Woods Argall ’09

216.Cecilia Depman ’15

217.Lena Shefelman ’14

218.Maddy McGrady ’15

219.Sarah May ’09

220.Julie Hartman ’15

221.Winston Ward ’15

222.Kaitlin Donnelly ’15

223.Sivan Vainer ’09

224.Erin Ginsburg ’15

225.Alexa Vasios ’14

226.Ben McGee ’10

227.Larkin Page-Jacobs ’02

228.Jonathan Mannion ’93

229.Mariam Bahrami ’91

230.Morgan Sterling ’15

231.Rachel Hall ’15

232.Ally Compatore ’13

233.Karuna Ramcharran ’12

234.Nick Coyote ’07

235.Vibha Mishra ’11

236.Jackson Wolf ’14

237.Ricki O’Neill ’08

238.Daniel Prager ’09

239.Emily Ostergaard Prager ’09

240.Eric Engelbrecht ’14

241.Kanmani Venkateswaran ’11

242.Lauren Newland ’07

243.Hannah Szlyk ’09

244.Charlotte Graham ’13

245.Chris Bench ’05

246.Michelle Birsky ’13

247.Ananda Plunkett ’11

248.Avril Ho ’11

249.Caroline Miller ’14

250.Kimberley Selwyn ’15

251.Ted Meyer ’15

252.Sarah Maniates ’13

253.Amanda Henderson ’11

254.Christina Gordon ’12

255.Erik Reinhard Wobus M’93

256.Celia Cullom ’15

257.Elizabeth Cheroutes ’92

258.Kate Lindsay ’15

259.Rebecca Katz ’11

260.Anna Berger ’15

261.Julia Dopp ’13

262.Alessandra Cusato ’06

263.Julia Bright Moran ’06

264.Caitlin Starling ’12

265.Alicia Florin ’12

266.Weston Faison ’93

267.Eleanor Jewett ’93

268.Nicki Krzeminski ’14

269.Hannah Stewart ’12

270.Jake Fishbein ’13

271.Hanna Washburn ’14

272.Deborah Martin ’87

273.Madeleine Foley ’13

274.Nicholas Lehn ’13

275.James Nichols-Fleming ’82

276.Mary Hollyman ’14

277.Evan Pease ’11

278.Nora Erickson ’10

279.Vivian Cherng ’12

280.John Mishler-Tomshany ’89

281.Andrea Fullerton ’10

282.Simon Golovcsenko ’15

283.Michael Kengmana ’14

284.Bettie Teasley ’92

285.Paul Medioli ’12

286.Erica Trinder-Torre ’03

287.Taylor Sweeney ’15

288.James Breece ’04

289.Sabina Breece ’02

290.Johann Maximilian Amberger,

’15

291.Gregory Culley ’14

292.Megan Shaw ’15

293.Whitney Simon ’15

294.Andrew Cunningham ’08

295.Laura Borell ’01

296.Hannah Shank ’15

297.Rebecca Saltzman ’15

298.Dan Fishbach ’98

299.Hannah Brooks ’11

300.David Bee ’95

301.Nick O’Brien ’08

302.Jessica Greenlee ’09

303.Marty Kezon ’13

304.Melek Yildiz Spinel ’13

305.Dorothy Clare Tessman ’01

306.Rebecca Neubauer ’11

307.Leslie Martin ’14

308.Andrew Pankin ’08

309.Phoebe Rotter ’14

310.Paul Bisagni ’12

311.Will Calhoun ’07

312.Susanna Carlson ’08

313.Eleanor Knipp ’15

314.Douglas Hull ’74

315.Virginia S.B. Calhoun ’80

316.Charlotte Reed ’15

317.Kristen Prevost ’15

318.Syeda Showkat ’15

319.Claudia Pepe ’15

320.Daniel Rymer ’07

321.Barry Gorden ’62

322.Mimi Morningstar ’92

323.Katie Rumizen ’14

324.Alisa Rethy ’15

325.Thomas Mattes ’15

326.Leslie Lasiter ’12

327.Alison Tung ’05

328.Foss Baldwin ’15

329.Adrian Kwong ’13

330.Ellen Kaufman ’13

331.Daniel Streicher ’10

332.Jesse Donaldson ’02

333.Rosalyn Aquila ’14

334.Tove Pousette ’13

335.Lauren Amrhein ’13

336.Nosiku Siyumbwa ’13

337.Michael Jest ’15

338.William Brackett ’14

339.Julie Hanson ’80

340.Kristina Miklavic ’14

341.Vanessa Picard ’93

342.Lucy Stoll ’11

343.Elie Porter Trubert ’83

344.Emily Staudenmaier ’10

345.Colin Finnegan ’15

346.Jill Pattison ’12

347.Brendan Griffin ’02

348.Nicholas B.A. Nicholson ’91

349.Lindsey Corbett ’14

350.Susan Miller Lloyd ’84, P’17

351.Saskia Warren, ’10

352.Annette Covrigaru ’14

353.Anne Hjortshoj ’92

354.Janice Gossman ’89

355.Alice Lowy ’08

356.Patrick Jones ’93

357.Tess Michelle Waggoner ’13

358.Linzey Powers ’01

359.Michelle von Hirschberg ’10

360.Lucia Pizzo Flaherty ’09

361.Elizabeth Twerdahl Stankus

’02

362.Abbe Jacobson Kopf ’89

363.Sophie Booth, was on track to

graduate in ’10, dropped out

after campus rape

364.Noah Heinrich, ’12

365.Molly Doyle ’05

366.Liam Singer ’03

367.Morgan McGowan ’90

368.Alexandra Roland ’09

369.Tom McGowan ’90

370.Matthew Roth ’90

371.Becky Houpt Gladstone ’85

372.Pamela J. Pleasants ’83

373.Catarina Miragaia ’11

374.Marcie Schwartz ’13

375.Shanna Keown ’10

376.Jenny Dillon ’10

377.Rachel Burgreen ’10

378.Nina Hamilton ’12

379.Charlotte Fabe ’14

380.Joanna Weinland Upmeyer ’06

381.Ellie Shechet ’12

382.Dana Arneson ’02

383.Erik Mazur ’00

384.Lindsay Stevens ’10

385.Wilfred Ahrens, III ’85

386.Kiera Busching ’13

387.Joshua Weber ’11

388.Clara Porter ’87

389.Alyssa Zuliani ’92

390.Amy Curtner Andrews ’89

391.Kaitlin Rafferty Law ’09

392.Ryan Motevalli-Oliner ’12

393.Lauren Hansen ’02

394.Emily Rapp ’12

395.Courtney Himebrook ’12

396.Sarabeth Domal ’15

397.Jeff Mitzel ’81

398.Annie Hulkower ’14

399.Anna Yie ’14

400.Shayla Myers ’02

401.Katy Tucker ’03

402.Ashley Parker ’03

403.Francis Gourrier ’08

404.Erin Altman-Waltz ’01

405.James Kurella – ’96

406.Teresa Girolamo – ’08

407.Daniel Brigham – ’06

408.Curt Foxx ’02

409.Ryan Lacy ’07

410.Stephen Politzer-Ahles ’08

411.Deanna Lesht- ’07

412.Blair MacDonald ’12

413.Abigail Sagher ’15

414.Cole Dachenhaus ’11

415.Abe Shriner ’08

416.Christina Robertson ’01

417.Bronte Kastenberg ’14

418.Elizabeth Furman ’15

419.Franny Lazarus ’10

420.Jeremy Abrams ’11

421.Scott Wilcox ’95

422.Jacob Hoyson ’08

423.Matthew Seeley ’93

424.James Weeks ’11

425.Danielle Pinedo ’92

426.Casey Griffin ’14

427.Amy Shapiro 2002

428.Cynthia Brinich-Langlois ’04

429.Melissa Humphries ’12

430.Abigail Giles ’01

431.Adam Howard ’97

432.Christine Seyfried ’89

433.Rekha Mohan ’15

434.Sarah Gold ’15

435.Scott Griffith ’92

436.Samantha Winslow ’03

437.Rachael Polton ’11

438.Chenery Lowe ’14

439.Sam Anderson ’14

440.Kate Druschel Griffin ’99

441.Rebecca Walsh ’92

442.Amy Peterson ’02

443.Marisa Vigilante ’03

444.Christopher Missett ’91

445.Tamsin McDonagh ’15

446.Caitlin Sellnow ’12

447.Joshua Sherman ’14

448.John MacNeil ’15

449.Kaitlin Tebeau ’12

450.Kelsey DeLaney ’13

451.Peter Certo ’10

452.Rachel Gorsky ’13

453.Jennifer Lightsey ’92

454.Margaret Archer ’92

455.Joyce Tecson Chapman ’92

456.Sarah Rohling ’97

457.Trevor Criswell ’11

458.Hilary Lowbridge ’99

459.Patrick Bowen ’03

460.Amanda Martin Terry ’08

461.Kayleigh Truman ’11

462.Carolyn Levine ’14

463.Shelly Parver `08

464.Erin Fitzgerald ’02

465.Diana Torres Hawken ’04

466.Elizabeth Mahiri ’13

467.Natalie Philpot ’03

468.Tracy Miller ’02

469.Jacky Neri ’13

470.Cindy Sternberg Thomas ’84

471.Lindsay Means ’11

472.Charlotte Woolf ’12

473.Anneliese Van Arsdale ’05

474.Morgan (Casler) Hendrix ’01

475.John Alexander Weibull ’99

476.Elizabeth Moran ’01

477.Kaliis Naphtali Smith ’01

478.Alexandra Kirsch ’11

479.Kate Gunby ’09

480.Abigail Thompson ’04

481.Jessica Carbone ’06

482.Julia Greer ’15

483.Kerri Buckley ’03

484.Avery Anderson ’15

485.Lianne Castile ’13

486.Lauren Kriete ’15

487.Laura Miller ’11

488.Emma Patterson ’04

489.Tait Wade ’04

490.Susannah Green ’13

491.Abigail Mitchell ’01

492.Rebecca Ray ’01

493.Kelly Humrichouser ’08

494.Katharine Bente Knarreborg

’07

495.Katie Weber ’10

496.Michael Spencer ’13

497.Mary Bloom ’09

5 comments

  • Abigail R. Esman '82

    Really? A group of recent graduates got together in a “closed’ forum to present what they state is an opinion representative of the alumni? It is not. And to pretend to is both disgraceful and, frankly, embarrasses every single person who crafted this letter and the action behind it.

    If the College is going to hear from alumni on this issue and take alumni concerns into account, it needs to listen to alumni who actually have lived in the real world, not a bunch of people who graduated less than a year ago (and are in some cases personally involved in the case that sparked this debate), sprinkled with a couple of others (who happen, not coincidentally, to share a class year). More than that, and far more importantly, this letter fails to consider the facts of campus rape cases across the country – the actual numbers both of real episodes and of false accusations. It also ignores (deliberately or otherwise) the very crucial importance not just of supporting the victims of rape, but providing fair and just hearing for those accused, far too often falsely, of having perpetrated a crime.

    This letter does not represent the alumni at large. It is not only shameful that the signatories present it as doing so, but indicative of far too much that has gone wrong with the way recent alumni seem to want to shape Kenyon policy and ideals, and the apparently willful avoidance of reality in the process.

    President Decatur, I respectfully request, on behalf of the alumni at large, that if you are to take alumni concerns into account, the full alumni body be brought to the discussion – not a self-selected, and frankly, highly biased few.

    • Humbled Alumna

      The two things that made me lol the most from this besides the argument itself is: (1) you speak out about how “every single person who crafted this letter and the action behind it” is embarrassed by this (um?) and (2) your respectful request “on behalf of the alumni at large.” I applaud your decision to appoint yourself (I think you mentioned “self-selected” above as well, right?) representative of all alumni who signed and those who did not. The real world has worked wonders on your fight against the “willful avoidance of reality!” #inspired #yougogirl

    • Where in the letter does it say it speaks for all alumni? Where does it say it was only recent graduates?Did you only read the first few signatures and thus come to that conclusion? It is quite evident that it was written by those who had joined at Kenyon Alumni Group for Title IX, and were thus solely speaking for those who CHOSE to sign their name to the letter. Not anywhere does it mention that anyone had personal involvement in the case at hand. You are making gross generalizations based on nothing. I also don’t understand your assertion that somehow people who have lived in the “real world” would be better equipped to have an opinion on this matter. Wouldn’t you think that people who had most recently been at Kenyon have more insight into what is currently occurring?

    • Wow, condescending much? If you bothered to look through the signatures, you’d see alumni who’ve had plenty of years since graduating. Not to mention you don’t know all of these people. Just because someone happens to be a recent grad doesn’t mean they have no experience in what you deem “the real world.”

  • The list of alumni signatories is well into the 800s now.

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