Meeting summaries for the current academic year are found below. Archives can be found in the menu at the left.
President Decatur gave brief comments then opened up the floor for questions.
Rebecca Veidlinger was on campus doing the independent review of the College’s Title IX/VAWA policies and processes. There were many meetings with students, staff and faculty. The audit covers the cases from the 2015-16 academic year in which the new policy went into effect and will review whether the policies are within the federal guidelines, follow best practices as well as whether the policy was followed as written. All cases that went to investigation will be reviewed, though not reinvestigated or re-adjudicated. A report will be sent to the committee co-chaired by Ted Mason and Ruth Fisher (P’17, Board of Trustees member) later this semester and recommendations will be acted on immediately.
Anyone who would like to provide information to the audit can contact either Sean Decatur or Samantha Hughes who will provide contact information for Rebecca Veidlinger.
As we were informed earlier in the semester Kenyon College is being investigated by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. President Decatur said that he expected an investigation as many institutions with high profile cases are on the list. There are 275 investigations open and the average length of an investigation is one and half years, some lasting up to three years. The audit we have undergone this semester will provide much of the information needed to answer requests for information by the OCR.
Education efforts have been primary this semester. An anti-harassment training module is required to be completed by all employees of the college. The training covers College policies, state and federal law. First-year students were required to complete an online course before registering in August. Upper class students (sophomores, juniors and seniors) will need to complete the course before registering in November. The Title IX/Civil Rights Office members have been doing training for teams, student groups and departments. President Decatur stressed the need to not just become familiar with policy but to change culture on campus.
Short term, Bexley Hall will be valuable as swing space while other projects are done. For example, Bexley is a large space that could be repurposed during the library construction project. As for a permanent new purpose for Bexley Hall, nothing has been decided.
As the new apartment style housing comes on line in the village, the New Apartments will can be torn down one block at a time. There is no timeline yet. Mather, McBride, and Caples have never been renovated and all need work — both HVAC systems and infrastructure. Working on any of these buildings requires that we have 150 bed residence hall where students can be housed during each year-long renovation project. Renovating all of our existing residence halls would be a 12-15 year project. No plans have been created to begin this.
Adding 150-200 students to the college has wide reaching implications for the college. The declining size of the population of students in high school will continue to decline over the next 10 years. This is not a good time for a college to grow.
Seventeen hundred on campus is the size President Decatur imagines we will be for a while with a buffer of 30 plus or minus.
The campaign has been in the quiet phase for a year now focusing on major donors in the Trustees and friends of the College. The quiet phase will continue until 50-60 percent of the goal has been raised; this could take another year and a half. Two-thirds of the campaign goal of $300,000,000 will support financial aid and the academic programs.
Right now the College is 80 percent tuition dependent. This is not a good place to be because we need to hit our enrollment targets every year; there is little room for error. The pressures of inflation make this a moving target. The goal is to reduce our tuition dependence with the goals of the campaign. President Decatur hopes to move our tuition dependence to 75 percent of the annual budget.
Michelle Foster and Lee Schott described several new initiatives that have been created to welcome new employees to Kenyon and to foster community and social interaction with all employees.
Employees are encouraged to check out and follow two new Instagram accounts: @kcsocial and @kcsharesfood. The first is a way to let others know about activities in which you’re involved and would invite others to join. The second is for sharing food posts.
David Hoyt in the Office of Communications coordinates a Google doc for Kenyon employees — a calendar for a variety of events that are generated by those that belong to the group, everything from 5K walk/runs to wine/beer tastings occur and our peers would love us to join them for these activities. This is a great way to meet new friends and engage in some fun social events that are sometimes difficult to come by in Gambier.
New employees that watch a new orientation video and send their completion certificate to Michelle Foster will receive a reusable Kenyon lunch bag.
KSC and others are valued volunteers for conducting campus tours sponsored by HR Department for new employees.
The co-chairs of Kenyon’s United Way Campaign, Lisa Schott and Maureen Tobin, came to discuss strategies for garnering more participation from our colleagues in this year’s drive. Last year, 100 employees donated to the campaign. Ideas for events and incentives were discussed — stay tuned for communications from Lisa Schott for what’s in store this year.
Title IX Audit: Rebecca Veidlinger, who is overseeing the College's audit of Title IX policy, will be on campus from September 19-23 and will meet with Staff Council on September 21.
Subcommittees: All subcommittees should meet monthly and share their notes in the KSC Google Folder.
Two-Step Verification for IT Systems: We’re reminded to share with our departments the importance of using Google Authenticator to determine a method that best suits us individually for verifying personal information and making our Google accounts more secure.
Community Health Fair: Sept. 21, 1–4pm in KAC. Following the Health Fair, P.F. Kluge will be a featured speaker in the Beulah Kalher Theater giving a presentation on the film Dog Day Afternoon, which is inspired by his book.
KSC Employee Luncheon: September 28 from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. in the Alumni Dining Room, Peirce Hall.
No new business to report.
Members joined our various committees:
• Benefits: Ellen Harbourt, Shanna Hart, Miracle Mahle, Lorie Shults and Ashleigh Zarley
• Communications: Annie Ellsworth, Ellen Harbourt, Lauri Lange, Emily Lindo, Rebecca Matney and Andrew Oleson
• Events: Robyn Bowers, Pam Sheasby, Lorie Shults, Kim Totman and Lisa Train
• Outreach: Kyle Eddy, Barbara Kakiris, Beth Pae, Rachel Shoman and Nancy Sowders
We are discussing whether we will appoint chairs for each subcommittee, so stay tuned for that decision. In the meantime, employees are urged to contact any of the Kenyon Staff Council (KSC) members listed above with questions or concerns for subcommittee matters.
KSC members provided feedback on the proposed Employee Performance Program to be shared at the Senior Staff Retreat.
KSC members are scheduled to attend the Senior Leadership Retreat on Monday, August 15 at Ariel-Foundation Park.
Members of the Kenyon community can get in touch with Staff Council by visiting forms.kenyon.edu/askstaffcouncil or by emailing email@example.com. Please note that this is an actual email account (like a person's individual account with a login and password) that is shared by the KSC co-chairs and the communications subcommittee. All questions will be posted online.
The Events Subcommittee will be sending out a schedule of lunches and other events to campus. We hope that you join us this year for the fun, community-building events we’re planning.