In a recent blog post on the KC Alumni for Title IX website, Kenyon alum Michael Hayes ’14 responded to an external investigator’s audit of how sexual assault cases are handled by the College. While the audit was a decent first step towards admitting that there are issues with the Title IX process at Kenyon, Hayes points out that “the College considers this Report to be a convincing addition to its growing inventory of assurances that everything is not as bad as it seems.”
Both the Report and Kenyon’s summary of the report are available for perusal on the College’s website. Both documents essentially claim that the institution’s handling of sexual assault cases should not be a cause for alarm. However, Hayes has pointed out many reasons why this is not the case, using the language of the review itself to show that Kenyon has a lot of work to do.
It is not what was said in the article, but rather what was left unsaid, that is the most troubling. Several points were not expanded upon that should have received more attention, such as the “lack of uniform record-keeping of investigative files” (p. 31 of the Report of External Review conducted by Rebecca Leitman Veidlinger). It is unacceptable for processes as important as sexual misconduct cases to have inconsistent records of investigative files. This lack of attention, combined with other instances of carelessness and miscommunication, is not something the College should take lightly. It is crucial for the Kenyon community to closely examine the language of the Report and to insist upon more honesty and clarity regarding these issues. Hopefully the audit and the community’s reactions to it will lead to more progress in the future.