Dear members of the Kenyon community,
Since 2015, Kenyon has participated in a national survey that seeks to gauge the climate of sexual misconduct on college campuses. Developed by the Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) Consortium, the Sexual Assault Campus Climate Survey collects data on both the occurrence of campus sexual violence as well as perceptions of the institution’s response and of campus climate more broadly. More than 100 colleges and universities have administered the survey since it became available in 2015; Kenyon has administered it four times: in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2022. I am writing to share the results of the most recent survey.
The issue of sexual misconduct is of critical concern on college campuses, and it will continue to be as long as the rates of sexual violence in the U.S. and worldwide remain staggeringly high. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over half of women and almost a third of men in the U.S. experience some sort of sexual violence in their lifetime. According to the Department of Justice, one in two transgender individuals are sexually abused or assaulted at some point in their lives.
The data are less stark at small colleges like Kenyon — more than 80% of respondents to the 2022 HEDS survey reported that they have never experienced any form of unwanted sexual contact as a student at a small college — and yet any instance of unwanted sexual contact is an instance that should never have occurred. Of the 19% of Kenyon students who responded to the survey, 14% reported experiencing unwanted sexual contact at some point while a Kenyon student. This includes anything from unwanted kissing or touching to nonconsensual sex.
While this rate is lower than what Kenyon respondents reported in 2019 (18%), it remains higher than what was reported at other small colleges this year (11%). Kenyon students also reported having a greater understanding of sexual assault and how to recognize it (89% at Kenyon versus 85% at other small colleges), and higher reporting rates may signal that efforts to build awareness about sexual misconduct are having an impact.
As in previous administrations of the survey, the 19% of Kenyon students who responded to the 2022 survey reported feeling valued in the classroom and generally supported by faculty, staff and fellow students. However, their assessment of other measures of campus climate continues to be concerning, including the relative lack of support they feel from the administration and campus officials in navigating the complex and changing federal Title IX regulations. We need to better understand these data, particularly in the context of surveys with differing results, such as the National Survey of Student Engagement and the Healthy Minds Study.
Members of our institutional research team are consulting with peers who have seen similar results at their institutions, and they will be conducting focus groups with students in the spring to delve more deeply into the perceptions at Kenyon.
For more information about the survey, its implementation and resulting data, please contact Associate Vice President for Institutional Research Erika Farfan at (740) 427-5571 or email@example.com. To learn more about the resources at Kenyon and our policies regarding sexual misconduct, visit our website or contact Civil Rights/Title IX Coordinator Samantha Hughes at (740) 427-5820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I know we all want to foster a community where sexual violence is not tolerated, and where our fellow students and colleagues feel valued and supported. Thank you for your partnership in this important work.