Recently approved changes to Kenyon’s sexual misconduct policy present a much-needed overhaul. Sexual assault is notoriously underreported. To combat this, Kenyon’s procedures should encourage survivors to come forward. Under Kenyon’s old policy, both the accuser and accused faced a daunting hearing, which has been known to last over 10 hours. Upwards of 15 people, including students, faculty and staff are typically present at such hearings. We imagine that few students are eager to share traumatic experiences with a roomful of others.
Additionally, while we recognize that the individuals who serve on Kenyon’s conduct review boards underwent training and that many of them volunteer out of a selfless desire to make Kenyon more safe and fair, sexual assault is a tricky and profoundly serious issue. Meting out justice for sexual misconduct must be left to experienced professionals. It is not a job for 20-year-olds, however dedicated they may be.
We recognize that, as is, the current policy is far from perfect. We trust that Kenyon will take feedback into account update it accordingly in about a year’s time. Additionally, at over 30 pages, the current policy is undeniably thorough. However, its lengthiness risks creating confusion. We urge Kenyon to publicize the policy in a plain-spoken manner. The new policy is a marked improvement; people need to know why and how to make use of it.