Some Kenyon alumni hope to change the conversation on sexual misconduct through the creation of a Title IX Fund.
Anna Bloom ’04 and Jeb Breece ’04 launched the fund this spring — around the time Kenyon made headlines due to a viral letter written Michael Hayes ’14 that criticized the College’s handling of an alleged case of sexual misconduct involving his sister, Chelsea, a former student.
“There were a number of [alumni] that — because of the sexual assault incidents that occurred on campus — were looking for ways to be engaged,” Breece said. “It got Anna and I talking about whether there was an opportunity to engage some of these people on one hand, and, on the other hand, provide some support to the school in a way that might not exist otherwise.”
The Title IX Fund was established by the Kenyon Alumni for Title IX, an alumni organization united on a Facebook group boasting nearly 1,300 members, created by Bloom. The fund’s mission, according to its official website, is to “create a community that is sensitive to every student’s right to consensual sex and the pain that ensues when that right isn’t protected.”
The fund has raised $1,680 from 28 different donors since it launched in June, right before the end of Kenyon’s fiscal year.
To donate to the fund, alumni send donations directly to Kenyon and indicate that the gift be used for the Title IX Fund. Director of Annual Giving Shawn Dailey said this system is “really for the benefit of the donor” because the College’s online platform is easy to use and secure.
The Title IX Fund website adds that this donation method allows the money to “be directly applied to the budget of the Office of the Title IX Coordinator,” currently Samantha Hughes. Breece hopes the Fund is able to assist the College in changing Kenyon’s campus culture by giving students or student groups the chance to fund projects that may not have been funded otherwise.
Hughes hopes to use the Fund to increase programming, particularly in education. “The alumni are entrusting the Fund to the Title IX/Civil Rights Office, and so Jeb and Anna made it very clear,” she said. “They don’t want to make it ‘this dollar has to go to this type of work.’” Hughes said the feedback from Breece and Bloom has been positive thus far.
The Title IX Fund is still in its early stages, so its exact programmatic use is undetermined. But Breece is still confident in his and Bloom’s efforts in creating the Fund.
“This is an experiment,” Breece said. “We have no idea whether it will work. Three years from now it may be non-existent, but we felt like it was important … that the school be open to trying new things and that the student body has to be part of it. ”