I write to make our campus community aware that Denison is working with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), to provide information regarding our fulfillment of our Title IX obligations as they relate to sexual harassment and sexual assault. OCR investigations respond to individual complaints and are informationgathering exercises to determine whether we have fulfilled our obligations. Sharing this information with the campus reflects our commitment to informing and engaging the community about sexual misconduct.

We welcome the opportunity to share with OCR the positive and innovative measures we have taken with regard to Title IX. The Community Sexual Misconduct Awareness and Response Team (C-SMART) holds regular community meetings to share information, provide education and create a venue for public discussion about the prevention of sexual misconduct. Our staff is proud to have made presentations about C-SMART at national conferences as a model for other colleges and universities on this topic.

Similarly, the Campus Climate Watch is a unique mechanism for apprising our campus community of incidents of sexual misconduct and bias. The Campus Climate Team was formed last fall to monitor and report to the community on aggregated incidents as a means of further fostering awareness and engagement with these matters.

While this process undoubtedly will help us discover other ways we can improve our practices, the record we share with OCR will signal our commitment to continuously improving our responses to sexual misconduct. We work to achieve a safe campus through educational programs and campaigns, policy development and enforcement, promoting healthy social norms, and involving multiple stakeholders in prevention efforts. We take reports of sexual misconduct very seriously and we work diligently to take all appropriate steps to increase awareness of misconduct, prevent its recurrence and address its effects. The University is dedicated to supporting victims of violence and holding students accountable when they violate our expectations. Over the last four years, we have assessed our efforts on a continuing basis against the backdrop of quickly evolving federal compliance expectations. We are proud to have revised policies when we discerned ways of improving, including a significant change last summer in our investigation model and in the ways we support students affected by reported incidents.

The current inquiry may yield new guidance on how to address future incidents of sexual misconduct, and we will continue to review our policies to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect our students. We welcome the chance to explore changes that might improve our programs and policies on behalf of our community’s welfare. We remain determined to be transparent in our policies, honest in our assessments, confident in our values and united in our commitment to meet this challenge.

Dr. Laurel B. Kennedy
Vice President
Division of Student Development
Denison University

April 30, 2014