On April 7, President Sean Decatur announced that Civil Rights/Title IX Coordinator Samantha Hughes will serve as interim vice president for student affairs. She will take over the position on May 10, when current Vice President for Student Affairs Meredith Harper Bonham ’92 departs. Hughes’ colleague, Civil Rights/Title IX Deputy Coordinator Kevin Peterson, will step into the role of civil rights/Title IX coordinator.
The College’s national search for a permanent replacement is already underway, a process that began after Bonham notified the community of her coming departure last month. The vice president for student affairs is in charge of budget creation and staff supervision for over 10 offices that oversee student life, including the Office of Student Engagement and Campus Safety, as well as general oversight of the student experience.
In search of Bonham’s replacement, the College enlisted the services of national executive search firm Storbeck Search. Kenyon also finalized a search committee comprised of students, faculty and members of the Board of Trustees, headed by Associate Provost and Professor of Chemistry Sheryl Hemkin. At the conclusion of the search, Hughes will return to her position in the Office for Civil Rights.
Hughes began her career at Kenyon in 1997 with the Office of Residential Life, helping to shape the first-year experience. After serving as the dean of residential life, she supervised the student conduct program for a decade and then became civil rights/Title IX coordinator in 2016.
When she begins her tenure as interim vice president for student affairs, Hughes will be handling the difficulties of a transitional period. “As each member of the Kenyon Community can attest, living, learning, and working over the past year has been especially exhausting due to the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19,” she wrote in a message to the Collegian. Still, Hughes emphasized that she is ready for the task at hand, and that she will remain in her interim position until a permanent replacement is found. “I look forward to continuing important campus conversations throughout the summer and into the fall semester,” she said in the official announcement.
There will be an open forum on Thursday, April 15 for students, faculty and staff regarding the national search process. Those who wish to attend and voice their input can access a Google Form sent out by the College via email on April 9.