November 26, 2018
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An independent compliance auditor has been hired by Kenyon to undertake a comprehensive review of Kenyon’s Title IX and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) policies and the College’s practices under those policies during the past academic year.
Rebecca Leitman Veidlinger, a lawyer based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will conduct the review. Veidlinger specializes in Title IX investigations and issues. She spent eight years as a prosecutor in Bloomington, Indiana, with a focus on domestic violence and sex crimes cases before joining the University of Michigan as its Title IX investigator. In addition to her work as an independent Title IX investigator and consultant, Veidlinger served as interim deputy Title IX coordinator at Michigan State University.
Kenyon College Board of Trustees member Ruth Fisher P’17 and Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Ted Mason P’10, also a professor of English, led the search for the firm to undertake the compliance audit and review. Fisher and Mason are co-chairs of a campus committee overseeing a review of the College’s Title IX and VAWA policies. Formed in May, the committee includes faculty, staff members and students.
Fisher said, “The committee knew that identifying and engaging the right person for this work was critical to making sure the review was comprehensive, done in an exacting manner, took into account the rapidly changing landscape applicable to educational institutions’ policies and practices in this area, and was clearly independent and thoughtful.”
“Rebecca seemed to us to have the requisite experience, the skill and the commitment to do this job well and in a timely manner,” Mason said. “Everyone we spoke to was incredibly well-qualified. We were able to choose among many talented candidates and firms, and she seemed to us to be the one with the best fit in terms of the experience and profile we needed.”
Veidlinger has begun her work with the campus committee, which will intensify as the new semester begins. The campus committee and Veidlinger will continue to meet through the summer to facilitate her review process and the completion of a report on her work. Findings from Veidlinger’s report are expected to be shared with the campus community by the end of the fall semester.
President Sean Decatur announced the decision to conduct the review April 27 after questions were raised over the College’s policies and procedures regarding Title IX.
“While we do have confidence in our policies and procedures, our review and refinement of the policy and procedures is never done,” Decatur wrote in an email to the campus community.
Throughout the summer, Decatur has kept a spotlight on the issue of sexual misconduct on college campuses, participating in a special debate on the topic for PBS’s “Point Taken” and writing a blog post for the Huffington Post.
“Colleges and universities do have the responsibility to ensure that all students are safe, are treated equally and fairly and have the opportunity to pursue their education,” Decatur wrote in the post. “The work on campus to fight against bias, discrimination and sexual assault should not be merely operational in nature. Rather, that work should be grounded in the notion that phenomena such as bias, discrimination and sexual assault are contrary to the values of an ethical, civil society, and that we should be producing graduates who understand and practice these values.”
More information on Kenyon's Title IX policy and procedures can be found at kenyon.edu/title-ix.