Section: News

Survey: Student trust in Title IX process drops

Students’ confidence that the administration will protect those involved in Title IX reports at Kenyon has decreased since 2015, according to the 2017 Sexual Assault Campus Climate Survey.

The Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium developed the survey in order to understand attitudes toward sexual assault on college campuses. Kenyon was one of more than 50 colleges that participated in the first administration of the survey in 2015, and the College participated again this year. The response rate was 31 percent this year, up from 19 percent in 2015.

In the 2015 survey, 74.8 percent of the Kenyon students survey “strongly agreed” campus officials would support and protect the person making a report of sexual assault. In the 2017 survey, the number dropped to 67 percent. At “small peer institutions,” the drop was only from 73.5 percent to 72 percent.

The percentage of students who agree that campus officials would seriously consider the report decreased by 9.2 percent while the percentage of students who strongly disagree with this statement has increased by 3.9 percent. Again, this trend differs from that of peer institutions, whose percentages in this area have remained stable.

The Title IX office took note of these changes in the data, according to Civil Rights/Title IX Coordinator Samantha Hughes.

“It’s problematic if students don’t feel comfortable with the process that’s established,” Hughes said. “We want to know why, and what we can do to fix that.”

Hughes is considering conducting focus groups with students who are willing to participate to provide more information. There are no official plans at the moment, although the Title IX office will be working with the Office of Institutional Research to discuss the issue further, Hughes said.

The 2017 survey also has a new section devoted to bystander behaviors. According to Director of Institutional Research Erika Farfan, the new questions were developed by the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium to gather data so that policy changes could be made in college campuses around the country.

Seventy-seven percent of survey respondents at Kenyon selected “yes” when asked whether they have intervened in a situation they believed could have led to sexual assault. In comparison, 68 percent of students attending small peer institutions selected “yes.”

The survey also posed questions to students who have experienced an attempted sexual assault. Sixty percent of this group of Kenyon students answered “yes” when asked if bystanders had intervened during the sexual assault, as compared to 43 percent of students at peer institutions.

Even though bystander intervention is apparently more common at Kenyon than at peer institutions, the College is looking to improve it by introducing the Green Dot program. This educational program will train staff and students on strategies to effectively prevent and reduce sexual violence across many environments and situations, including sexual assault and dating violence.

The Title IX office is working on sending staff and students to a Green Dot training program in November, where they will learn how to train others. The Title IX Office hopes to have Green Dot workshops for students on campus soon, although these remain unscheduled.

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