On Sept. 3, Civil Rights/Title IX Coordinator Samantha Hughes sent out a news bulletin announcing that, as of Aug. 24, all higher education institutions are required by the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to conduct a live hearing and cross-examination of all witnesses when a formal Title IX complaint is resolved through formal resolution.
Hughes felt that this was an important change, as the Title IX review process will become much more holistic. “The College feels strongly that all statements and evidence should be considered by the Hearing Chair as they determine the outcome (responsible or not responsible),” Hughes wrote in an email to the Collegian. “This change in enforcement opened the door for the College to update our procedures.”
The revised policy comes after the College’s lengthy review of the Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Policy this summer. Back in July, the Office of Communications notified the Kenyon community that the policy would undergo a series of revisions due to the new regulations from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The announcement made it clear that these “behavioral expectations, reporting options, and resolution options” concerned all members of the Kenyon community. It also said that the Office for Civil Rights would offer training opportunities throughout the academic year for community members to become better informed about Title IX and its ramifications.
The policy also emphasizes that all parties involved in the Title IX case will be treated equally. Should a witness or party choose not to participate in the live hearing, they will still have access to the hearing recording, written notice of the outcome, sanctions — if determined responsible — and information on their opportunity to appeal, according to Hughes.
More information and resources regarding Title IX policies at Kenyon can be found on Kenyon’s Office for Civil Rights page.