Section: Opinion

Title IX and students

By Nicole Keller

The spirit and intent behind Title IX is to reduce and eliminate sexual misconduct on college campuses. The guidelines were created on a national level, and Kenyon is making a diligent effort to both support and implement the three calls of Title IX: stop, prevent and remedy.

 In response to [Interim Title IX Coordinator] Linda Smolak’s recent email regarding Title IX statistics from last semester I feel that these statistics are closer to being an accurate representation of what happens on campus. Students are now reporting a wide variety of issues, which I feel is a very positive step. It is important to note that these reports have run the gamut, from drawing sexual images in public spaces to serious actions of sexual assault.

The student body may feel alarmed initially by seeing the increased report statistics. However, we need to keep in mind the expansive categories under which Title IX operates. Smolak is our interim Title IX coordinator and has extended herself and her experience to assisting many students who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances or who felt harassed in some capacity.

Kenyon is currently in the process of searching for Linda’s replacement and the candidates will be interviewing starting today and into next week. I invite and encourage students, faculty and staff to attend meet-and-greet sessions and provide feedback to the search committee, as I see this position as being extremely important to the Kenyon community.

In light of Title IX legislation and increasing numbers of reports, multiple Kenyon groups have dedicated time and conversation to these issues and are currently collaborating to provide information, programming and discussion centering on sexuality, societal implications, positive sex and notions of consent.

These groups thus far consist of Kenyon athletics (coaches and student athletes), Sexual Misconduct Advisors, Greek Council, Community Advisors and ResLife staff, Crozier, Peer Counselors, Campus Safety, the Dean of Student’s office, the president’s office and various other staff and faculty members.

 While we have several goals, the primary focus at this time is on-campus dialogue between students to gain a better understanding of student needs and ideas on ways of continuing to enhance an environment of mutual support and respect. In the weeks and months to come, we will be reaching out to many of you for your thoughts and ideas. It is of the utmost importance that we gain insight from students and design programming that is student-driven. If you, your organization, your office or any combination of such would be interested in being part of the solution, please email me. Kenyon has always been a place built on the value of independent thought and expression — let’s all join in maintaining that momentum. Thank you for all that each of you do for the greater good of Kenyon College.

Nicole Keller is a member of the Kenyon College counseling staff. Contact her at


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