Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Letter to the Editor From KU English Department

Letter to the Editor: Faculty has the responsibility to address sexual assault

Posted: Monday, October 6, 2014 4:38 pm | Updated: 5:01 pm, Mon Oct 6, 2014. 
Dear KU Community,
The Department of English wishes to take up the challenge issued by the September Siblings and other students to examine the institutional climate in which sexual violence has been able to cause widespread and too-often unacknowledged suffering. Specifically, we wish to answer the call made by Alesha Doan, Chair of WGSS and co-chair of the Sexual Assault Task Force to follow these students’ courageous example and continue to speak out. It is our responsibility as a community to keep breaking the silence, to draw attention to the pervasive patterns of sexual violence which our culture tolerates, to call for and actively support changes in policy and implementation that prevent and punish such violence, and to make ourselves and others accountable for seeing that such changes become permanent.
In our role as an academic unit, we can best address this through teaching and research. We often witness the impact of sexual violence on the lives of our students. In our classrooms, we need to practice structuring inclusive conversations about systemic violence and sexual assault and the pain and damage they cause. There are many ways we can do this — through the texts we teach, in discussion of current events and by using language that respects the seriousness of sexual violence. These conversations can connect students with one another and with their teachers in ways that produce powerful learning experiences, even as they raise consciousness about a pervasive and deadly problem. Teachers need to be trained in leading discussion around these issues as well as in how to best provide first-response support. As instructors, we need to be ready to direct students who confide in us to resources that can provide the strongest forms of survivor advocacy (e.g. the Emily Taylor Resource Center and Lawrence-based GaDuGi). As an institution we need to act to ensure that those resources are truly robust.

The task force has been charged by our chancellor with examining KU policy, practices and sanctions, the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, and the adequacy of survivor services and prevention programs. Even as members began working on these immediate goals, their first meeting also powerfully highlighted our responsibility and our opportunity as a research institution to become a national leader in prevention and survival. Two of our Bold Aspirations strategic initiatives, “Promoting Wellbeing” and “Building Communities,” invite us to link research opportunities with prevention programs, to generate and analyze data and to open up critical conversations that together can drive decisions about prevention, safety and survivor needs.

We are proud of our students for speaking out and we take their demands seriously. We are grateful to the task force members who have taken on this crucial work. We need to help put their recommendations into action through our teaching, our research, and our service as citizens of KU and the larger community beyond the campus. In these ways, we can help uproot norms that enable sexual pressure and assault on campus even as we make meaningful contributions to a nationwide conversation whose urgency must not be allowed to fade.

Anna Neill
Professor and Chair
Department of English

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

KU continues to brag about sexual assault numbers

At Chancellor Gray-Little’s Panel on Sexual Assault on September 19, 2014, Provost Jeffrey Vitter bragged about the numbers of plagiarism versus sexual assault expulsions at KU in an effort to diminish the demands of the September Siblings.  These stats have been picked up and repeated in the local and national media:

"Out of 309 incidents of academic misconduct, including cheating and plagiarism, only two students were expelled and three were suspended by the university during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years at KU. By comparison, KU officials noted, 12 sexual assault investigations over a similar period resulted in six suspensions or expulsions.”  See HuffPost article from September 24, 2014.

As part of our original demands, the September Siblings seek a minimum punishment for sexual assault that exceeds the punishment of plagiarism — This demand stands.  We are less-interested in the previous two-year's ratio of expelled plagiarizers to the ratio of expelled rapists because they are different crimes — one an academic integrity violation, another a violation of a human body and of power over the oppressed.  We hold true that sexual assault crimes require a harsher punishment than violations of academic integrity as a matter of policy, and that this policy is enforced.  Whereas a plagiarizer most likely copy-and-pasted a paper from the internet, sexual assault inflicts force, abuse, and trauma on a person (typically with a status of less-power in society), thus altering the trajectory of the victim’s lives, and their overall success and access at KU.

Based on information from the Huffington Post article on September 2, 2014, the September Siblings, the larger KU community, and the nation saw that an admitted rapist was required to write a reflection essay as punishment, but community service was deemed “too punitive” —this is not the same punishment of a guilty plagiarizer, and the September Siblings demand more.

Also, comparing and touting the university numbers of plagiarizers to rapists, fails to recognize that a majority of sexual assault cases go unreported.  The ridiculously small number of reported cases at KU were likely by some informed victims certain they could establish a “preponderance” of evidence because data show that a far greater number of sexual assaults likely occurred. Given that perhaps as many as 2,766 women out of 13,831 (1 in 5) and 788 men out of 13,137 (6%) from the 2013-2014 KU student population will be assaulted over a four-year period based on national estimates from the Campus Sexual Assault study; in other words, that’s about 889 victims per year. These are not numbers to brag about.

In fact, because of all of the recent attention on the issue of sexual assault on campuses, 19 new cases of sexual assault and harassment at KU were reported in the month of September -- that’s more cases in one month than were reported over the span of two years -- and those numbers would certainly outpace the numbers for academic misconduct.  Now, IOA says they will launch a new 2014 student survey to gauge sexual assault occurrences, which should give us all a better understanding of how prevalent and pervasive the problem is at KU.

Finally, the September Siblings wish to call attention to the fact that there is no set standard procedure or punishment at KU for sexual assault crimes unlike many universities, although KU is certainly not alone in it’s failures. In fact, it is likely that students found guilty of sexual assault by their universities can rest assured there's a good chance they won’t be kicked out of school.”  Thus, we request that the task force works to suggest a better and strong procedure with harsher punishments in place that, at minimum, exceed standard punishments for academic misconduct.  In the meantime, the September Siblings will continue to raise awareness and work for a culture where sexual aggression is no longer idealized on our campuses and in our communities. Our safety and futures depend on it.  Until then, KU remains #aGreatPlaceToBeUnsafe.

Friday, September 26, 2014


KU Students Continue To Protest Sexual Assault Policies Despite Panels, Promises Of Change

Posted: Updated:
The administration at the University of Kansas has not had an easy month.

For the second time in less than a week, Jane McQueeny, a KU administrator in charge of sexual assault investigations at the university, spoke to students Tuesday afternoon about how the school handles reports of rape on campus. Just a few days earlier, McQueeny joined KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and other officials at a Sept. 18 panel to answer questions from students on the same topic.

Student activism on campus and online over how the university handles sexual violence has put continued pressure on the administration, and helped to prompt Gray-Little to announce on Sept. 11 that the university would create a task force of students, faculty and staff to review policies around sexual misconduct on campus.

"Every member of the KU community has an obligation to help shape the climate in which we work and study," Gray-Little said in an email outlining the task force and panel. "I look forward to us all working together as we make sure that KU is a safe place for every member of our community. A single instance of sexual assault is one too many."

Leaders of colleges facing criticism over sexual assault do not frequently field questions from students on the topic in public. But attendance at the Sept. 18 panel was less than half of the turnout for a student-organized forum the week before, on Sept. 9, according to students who attended both events.

The administration's actions and student activism follow a Huffington Post report earlier this month that the university considered community service too "punitive" as a punishment for "nonconsensual sex." Students reacted by creating a video -- which included one anonymous survivor's account of her sexual assault -- to warn people the campus was not safe.

KU's handling of the case has led to a federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

More sexual assault survivors have come forward since the launch of the investigation. One unnamed student told the University Daily Kansan, a student newspaper, that when the university determined a male student who forced himself on her while she was drunk was responsible for "non-consensual contact," ‎Director of Student Conduct & Community Standards Nick Kehrwald determined no punishment would be levied since the perpetrator hadn't actually violated the sexual harassment policy.

Acting student body president Emma Halling told The Huffington Post that she has referred other survivors directly to federal investigators.

"My biggest concern right now is while, yes, our policies on face look like they're compliant, in the actual process students are so alienated and disserved that they end up feeling worse about the process than when they went in," Halling said.

Students have staged demonstrations on campus, and condemned the university for its penalties for sexual assault, saying punishments such as having to write a "reflection paper" are "as easy as passing a class": 

Hobbes Entrikin, a student activist with anti-sexual assault group September Siblings, said staffers at the university's student affairs office have asked students why they continue to organize protests since the chancellor's email announced the review of university policies.

"[The university] is clearly not listening now, and they have clearly not been listening in the past," Entrikin said. "How are students expected to have faith in this new student-faculty task force when committees like this have traditionally been unproductive?"

Overall, Entrikin said, university officials seem more concerned with complying with Title IX, the gender equity law that requires colleges to address sexual violence and harassment, than with stopping sexual assault altogether. Ze noted KU's administration has still not responded to a list of specific demands from the September Siblings.

"I do not know what it will take for the administration to accept their students’ demands," Entrikin said. "We want to be proud of our school, but I cannot be proud of a university that pretends to protect victims of sexual violence, when they are really only protecting themselves."

One of the group's demands calls for the university to ensure the punishment for sexual assault is more severe than sanctions for plagiarism.

However, according to information supplied by the university to HuffPost, out of 309 incidents of academic misconduct, including cheating and plagiarism, only two students were expelled and three were suspended by the university during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years at KU. By comparison, KU officials noted, 12 sexual assault investigations over a similar period resulted in six suspensions or expulsions.

More than 1,200 people have signed a petition calling for, among other changes, a process to allow students to appeal the judgments in sexual assault and harassment complaints since 2012.

Hobbes Entrikin requested The Huffington Post use the pronoun "ze" to reflect Entrikin's non-binary gender identity.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Student Senate resolution condemns University of Kansas sexual assault policies

Posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 11:54 pm | Updated: 2:33 pm, Fri Sep 12, 2014.
Student Senate unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday that condemns the University for its handling of reported sexual assaults. It was written and presented by Emma Halling, interim student body president.
“If you are a victim of rape at this University, you are treated like a liability and not a human being,” Halling said.
In the middle of her speech about the resolution, Halling, a senior from Elkhart, Ind., held back tears as she told senators and present administrators of her own sexual assault story.

She said she was sexually assaulted in high school, but coping as a survivor has been difficult for her on campus.

“For people who don’t think sexual assault and rape are traumatizing, let me tell you what it looks like,” Halling said. “It looks like walking down the boulevard and thinking you see someone who looks like your assailant, and being immediately transported back to that situation.”

Halling has been vocal in her condemnation of the University since The Huffington Post article detailing how the University handled one sexual assault case was published. On Wednesday she was not only one of the loudest critics of the University, but spoke as a survivor.

She said she wants people to realize the breadth and depth of the subject. Halling said she knows it can really impede a student’s ability to succeed at the University, and it’s something she can speak to personally.

“It is traumatic,” Halling said. “It inhibits your ability to pursue an education, and we are not doing a damn thing about it.”

It was clear that those who spoke about the sexual assault situation were ready for a change. Halling and Angela Murphy, Student Senate graduate affairs director, have been serving on the Title IX Roundtable since its creation last fall.

Murphy, who is the treasurer and development director for the roundtable, said she hasn’t felt like student policy change suggestions have been taken seriously.

Halling, Murphy and Interim Student Body Vice President Tyler Childress sat down Friday afternoon with the Chancellor and the provost.

Halling said she was inspired by the conversations at the meeting. She said the Chancellor was interested in every detail of the process and that the three students were able to provide a lot of input.
Murphy said she is optimistic and believes that this is the right climate for the University to set a standard for sexual assault policies.

“This is a great time for KU to set a national standard for how sexual assault is addressed at institutions of higher education,” Murphy said. “I think we have the momentum, we have the right people in place, especially in the student body and I do think we have an administration who is open to hearing these things.”

Morgan Said, a senior from Kansas City, Mo., and student body president elect, said she plans to continue working with Halling and administration on Title IX initiatives.

“Student Senate acted quickly and very directly, something that I don’t think we can say about the University administration at this point in time,” Said said.

Said said she and Natalie Parker, a senior from Overland Park and vice chair of Rights Committee, sat down with Jane Tuttle, assistant vice provost of Student Affairs, on Tuesday to discuss concerns. The pair also urged Tuttle to have someone from Student Affairs attend the open forum on sexual assault at the ECM that night. No one from the office attended, Halling said.

Tuttle, who was in attendance at Wednesday’s full Senate meeting, declined to comment when approached by The Kansan.

— Edited by Emily Brown

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

University Daily Kansan: Strong Hall protest aims to keep sexual assault policies in the spotlight


Strong Hall protest aims to keep sexual assault policies in the spotlight

Posted: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 8:03 pm | Updated: 8:41 pm, Tue Sep 16, 2014. 
Connor Bowman was one of two men sitting among a growing crowd of women on the lawn of Strong Hall on Tuesday afternoon. He held a sign that read, "Parking Violation = $$, RAPE = ...?" Women were there to protest sexual assault policies, and Bowman was right there alongside them to show his support. "I think the gender gap speaks to a larger issue here," Bowman said. "Maybe it's a sign that there should be an effort to change that about our culture." Bowman has noticed many sexual assault awareness training sessions focus on steps women can take in order to avoid putting themselves in those situations. However, he noted, people don't often take into consideration the man’s actions and how we should address them.

"Everyone always says that women shouldn’t let themselves get drunk enough to put themselves in that situation, which is true,” Bowman said. “But at the same time, they should be able to feel safe no matter what.”

Bowman and several other students voiced their opinions at the Sit Down to Stand Up protest Tuesday afternoon. Dozens of supporters sat on the lawn of Strong Hall holding signs that read, “Our bodies are not learning experiences for rapists” and “Only yes means yes,” among several others.
Zoe Fincher, a sophomore from Lawrence, organized the protest. After she made the event on Facebook, Hobbes Entrikin, a member of September Siblings, messaged her and asked if September Siblings could join her cause.

Fincher wasn’t shocked by the article published in the Huffington Post or by the scrutiny the University has been under in the past two weeks. She said she hopes this protest will combine with other similar protests across the country to create a national discussion. She said her main goal in organizing the protest was to spread the word and gain media attention.

“KU doesn’t want the attention, but it’s what we need if we are going to fix this,” Fincher said.
Fincher specifically planned the protest a couple weeks after the article came out so people wouldn’t forget it after a couple days and move on.

“If we stop talking about it, then it will just get pushed back under the rug and nothing will get fixed,” Fincher said.

Both students and alumni were present at the protest. Among the crowd were CJ Brune and Christine Smith, two women who were part of February Sisters, a women’s rights group on campus in the 70s. Brune and Smith were both part of a similar protest in February 1972 when they were fighting for affirmative action and a daycare at the University.

“It’s been a problem for years,” Brune said. “And the worst part was that they made the woman feel like the perpetrator, like it was her fault.”

Neither of them are surprised by the problems.

“When we were in college, they would essentially just tell girls just to ‘relax and enjoy it,’ and apparently that’s still their attitude,” Smith said.

The September Siblings gave a list of demands to the Institutional Opportunity and Access and the University they would like to see the administration adhere to. They requested the demands be met by spring 2015, but have yet to hear from administration.

Last week Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little formed a sexual assault task force that will review current policies and practices, and provide recommendations on how they can be improved. Since this announcement, no recognizable changes have been made.

Emma Halling, student body president, showed her support at the protest. The last contact with IOA or the University she had was almost two weeks ago. She said she is concerned the task force was created just to pacify the people so scrutiny will go away and no changes will be made.
“They’re aware that the spotlight is on them,” Halling said. “The fact that this is occurring after the task force was created shows that more needs to be done.”

Until those demands are met, students like Fincher and members of the September Siblings will continue to rally support and raise awareness on campus. By using hashtags like #AGreatPlaceToBeUnsafe and #dontexploreku, they hope to convince the University to change its policies.

“KU has a great opportunity to become a national leader from all of this,” Bowman said. “The students recognize that there’s a problem, and they should be mad. But the overall message is a positive one.”

— Edited by Casey Hutchins

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Channel 6 Lawrence: Open forum held to discuss "mishandling of sexual assault" at KU

Tuesday, 09 September 2014 23:04

Open forum held to discuss "mishandling of sexual assault" at KU

Written by  
Tuesday night University of Kansas students, faculty and staff, along with members of the Lawrence community gathered at the Ecumenical Campus Ministries on campus. More than 100 people came together to express their feelings and concerns about the "mishandling of sexual assault" at the university.

"We need to treat this as a serious thing with absolute consequences for offenders or victims will continue to not report, victims who do go through the process will continue to feel more abused by reporting, and rapist will continue to be active on our campus," said Emma Halling, acting Student Body President at KU.

Halling's words were echoed by many. Survivors of sexual assault shared their stories as well. A moment of silence was also held for all victims and survivors of sexual assault who one speaker said "are often silenced".

The gathering was coordinated by of University of Kansas students who are calling themselves the "September Siblings." Earlier Tuesday, the group released an anti-recruitment video on YouTube. Along with a petition and list of changes they want to see made in KU policy.

All of the actions are in response to the recent Title IX complaint against the university. Students have taken to social media using #AGreatPlaceToBeUnsafe, #IOSFailedTo, and #ExploreKU regarding the matter. Tuesday night the students and community members said they will continue to react on Twitter and other social media platforms with those hashtags until change is made.

University Daily Kansan: Sexual assault forum encourages conversation

Sexual assault forum encourages conversation

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Posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 12:29 am
At an open forum Tuesday night held by the September Siblings, a new campus organization working to change the University sexual assault policies, discussion ranged from survivors’ stories to the lack of education and training to the frustration with victim-blaming. The recurring topic was a call for the University to make a change in its policies.

“One of the things I heard over and over tonight, which I thought was really remarkable and exciting was the call for KU to be a leader on this issue, to be a national leader, and I think that’s very possible,” said Alesha Doan, chair of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies.
Around 275 people, including students, faculty, advocates and community members, attended the meeting at the Ecumenical Christian Ministries.
The discussion began with the September Siblings sharing its demands and showing an anti-recruitment video it will promote until the University sexual assault policies change.
“We’ve organized this event because voices aren’t being heard by KU administration, because students are experiencing sexual violence and they have no control over what justice they receive,” said Hobbes Entrikin, a junior and a September Sibling member who helped organize the forum. “KU administration is not allowing students to be involved in a way that will change policies.”
One survivor shared her story of being raped while trying to ensure a friend’s safety. Another survivor said she had been raped by a close friend and still wasn’t completely comfortable calling it rape because of their relationship.
The goal of the forum was to create a space for people to share these stories, along with messages of support and calls to change policies to support victims, Entrikin said.
“This conversation has helped put a face on the idea of rape and surviving rape, which is something people don’t seem to understand and connect with, so providing a connection is making a very big difference in this,” Entrikin said.
Emma Halling, a senior from Elkhart, Ind., and acting student body president, said changes need to happen because they are negatively affecting the education and environment at the University.
“If women are being raped at this 20 percent rate and the University is not doing everything in its power to a) prevent it and b) remedy the situations after it happened they are inhibiting these women’s, these survivors’ ability to pursue their education here,” Halling said.
Angela Murphy, a graduate teaching assistant and development coordinator for the Title IX Roundtable said in a Sept. 8 interview that student-led discussions are what motivate change.
“When you have students, young people, age ranges over a decade, gathering together over the same issue then you are doing something right,” Murphy said. “I fully believe that that’s the one thing we are doing right is students mobilizing to affect positive change at the University.”
Halling said students can continue putting pressure on the University to change by discussing it in class and writing to the chancellor.
Doan also said students can continue to push for change through social media and spreading the word.
“Creating a consent culture is not as difficult as we pretend it is as a society,” Doan said.
Members of the organization called for 10 demands of the University:
-An investigation of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access and Student Affairs;
-having a victim advocate involved in the judicial process;
-an immediate budget increase to $35,000 for the Emily Taylor Center;
-mandatory sexual assault training for students;
-increasing the minimum punishment for sexual assault;
-revision of sexual assault policies;
-the revisions to be done by a committee of at least 51 percent students;
-reinvestigating sexual assault cases of those still at the University;
-allowing for filers to appeal cases;
-eliminating the term non-consensual sex.
“We will be heard one way or another,” Entrikin said.

— Edited by Casey Hutchins

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lawrence Journal-World: KU student group demands investigation into handling of sexual assault allegations


KU student group demands investigation into handling of sexual assault allegations

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September 9, 2014
A group of Kansas University students is circulating a petition calling on Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little to order an investigation into the KU office that investigates allegations of sexual assault and has released a video with anonymous people saying they were raped on campus.
The group is also warning potential students, telling them not to pick KU as their school.
"KU is not a safe place for students and no high school seniors should enroll here until it is," said the group, which includes Emma Halling, acting student body president, and other student leaders.
The actions were sparked by recent reports of a KU student who said she was raped in 2013 and her alleged assailant was given a lenient punishment. KU has declined to comment on the case, citing confidentiality required by federal law. Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson has said his office is reviewing the case.
The petition wants Gray-Little's administration to investigate KU's offices of Institutional Opportunity & Access and Student Affairs.
It also wants mandatory sexual assault training for all KU students and elimination of the term "non-consensual sex" in investigations. "It is rape," the petition states.
The petition also calls for the re-investigation of cases of professors, administrators and students who are still at KU and who were accused of sexual assault and harassment.

University Daily Kansan: University student expresses disappointment with administration's handling of her sexual assault case - The University Daily Kansan: News

University student expresses disappointment with administration's handling of her sexual assault case - The University Daily Kansan: News

University student expresses disappointment with administration's handling of her sexual assault case

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Posted: Tuesday, September 9, 2014 8:00 am | Updated: 8:48 am, Tue Sep 9, 2014.

The name of the complainant in this story has been changed at her request. The name of the respondent of the accusation is also being protected.
Now four months into University of Kansas administrators’ response to her alleged sexual assault, Ivory is left with one sentiment: “Nobody cares.”
Ivory, a sophomore, filed one of the 17 sexual assault complaints that the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access (IOA) has investigated so far in 2014.
She went in thinking it would get better if she reported to University administration. She thought IOA would communicate with her the way she had requested.
She was wrong.
According to emails and confidential letters to and from Ivory obtained by The University Daily Kansan, as well as interviews with Ivory, she accused the respondent, a male University student, on May 5 of non-consensual oral sex and attempting to penetrate her in November 2013. On June 30, IOA had finished its investigation, issued a conclusion, and recommended sanctions: that the respondent be put on probation, meet with IOA and pay restitution for out-of-pocket therapy expenses. Student Conduct and Community Standards subsequently decided that there had been no violation, and told Ivory so in a meeting on Aug. 18.
She thought her case was closed. She went home and cried.
Now, her case is being reopened against her will for a Formal Hearing Panel conducted by Student Affairs.
It started at a bar in November 2013, the fall of her freshman year.
She saw the respondent for the first and last time that night. She said she got a text from him the next day with his first name. She said she still doesn’t know anything other than his name, which fraternity he’s in, and the major listed on his Facebook profile.
“I think he was like 6-4, 6-5, over 200 pounds,” she said. “A really large person to try to fight off.”
She said when his fraternity’s designated driver picked them up as the bar was about to close, she thought they were going to take her to her home, not to spend the night at his fraternity.
“That wasn’t my plan,” she said.
Her memory of the night is choppy. She said he took her clothes off at his fraternity. She said she felt uncomfortable, said no, tried to get him to stop and told him repeatedly that she wanted to go home.
“There was no point in the evening where I wanted to engage with this person sexually,” she said. “None. And at every single point I made it clear that I was uncomfortable and that I did not want this to happen.”
The respondent did not return The Kansan’s voicemails.
The Kansan was not able to obtain the full IOA investigative report, which would include witness testimony of that night. Ivory signed a notarized Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act student records information release to allow the University to release records and information related to her sexual assault complaint to The Kansan reporter on Sept. 8. According to the University’s Director of News and Media Relations Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, no records will be released until after her case review is completed, after the scheduled formal hearing, to avoid influencing those involved in the case, including witnesses and panel members. She said Ivory and the respondent have rights to review records that will be presented at the hearing.
After that night, Ivory said she didn’t initially know that she could report what had happened and didn’t know where or how to report it in the University. She had also heard news stories of nothing happening to alleged rapists when other people reported alleged sexual assaults and she did not want to go through that experience. The next day, and for months afterward, she tried to ignore that anything had happened.
“I didn’t know what else to do,” she said. “And I didn’t think that anyone would help me.”
In April, she finally told someone.
Her friend Amanda Schulze, then a senior from Wichita, knew how to report to IOA and what the University could do because she served on the Title IX Sexual Assault Training subcommittee. She told Ivory that there was a process that could be effective.
If she didn’t say anything, nobody would ever know what she said the respondent had done. That’s what convinced her to report to the University.
“I wanted to feel like campus could be safe for other people and I felt like this person was dangerous,” Ivory said.
After class on May 5, Ivory reported the alleged assault. With Schulze at her side, she sat down in IOA Investigator Jennifer Brooks’s office in Carruth-O’Leary Hall.
According to IOA procedure as well as Ivory and Schulze’s accounts, Brooks took notes as she had Ivory walk through the events of that night. IOA investigators follow a checklist, making sure investigators explain how IOA handles cases and giving complainants a list of resources.
On that checklist is “correspondence regarding investigation.”
IOA normally sends all official documents by both standard mail to the complainant’s listed address and by email to the complainant’s @ku.edu email address. Ivory lived in the dorms as a freshman. Over the summer, her mail would be forwarded to her family’s house.
Ivory hadn’t—and still hasn’t—told her family about her alleged sexual assault.
“I was very, very private about the whole thing,” she said. “And I was hurting a lot.”
According to procedure and accounts, Brooks asked if Ivory wanted both letters and emails. Ivory said to not send letters to her family house. She said to only email her.
“It was reiterated multiple times that she did not want anything sent to her home,” Schulze said.
Ivory said she saw Brooks write down a note to only email and not mail and assured her that she would not be sent any mail to her parents’ home. Schulze also said Brooks said everything would be emailed and not mailed.
The mail came to her family’s house anyway.
Confidential PDFs obtained by The Kansan are all labeled as sent via standard mail and email: a summary of the May 5 meeting saying IOA would investigate, a copy of the notification of investigation addressed to the respondent, a directive that he not contact Ivory, and IOA’s conclusion and sanction recommendations.
Ivory said she received the letters in two bundles, the first in the middle of June and the second at the end of June. She said they looked like any other official KU letters, which startled her. She opened them before her family saw them.
“My dad, very easily, with no bad intention, would have seen that and thought it was a bill or something,” she said.
Ivory felt exposed. But she didn’t contact IOA to make sure no more letters came. She said she was busy, she didn’t know who to contact, and she didn’t think IOA would fix it.
Barcomb-Peterson said Jane McQueeny, IOA executive director, would not be able to comment on Ivory’s case until after the scheduled hearing.
Ivory said no one from IOA was checking up with her and she didn’t understand what she could ask.
On June 30, IOA sent its conclusion. IOA found that it is “more likely than not that [the respondent] assaulted [Ivory] by kissing and touching [her] when [she was] incapacitated and unable to provide knowing and voluntary consent to engage in any sexual activity with him.”
“If somebody is incapacitated, then they’re not able to consent to any sexual activity,” Brooks said speaking in general during a Sept. 5 interview with The Kansan.
IOA’s conclusion did not address Ivory’s accounts that these sexual actions happened when she said no.
IOA recommended the respondent be put on probation—without specifying what probation would entail—for six months, that he meet with IOA staff to discuss alcohol and consent and that he pay restitution to Ivory for any out-of-pocket therapy expense related to the case. The June 30 letter said the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards, Nick Kehrwald, would be in touch to discuss IOA’s recommendations.
On July 9, Kehrwald emailed Ivory saying he had received IOA’s report and wanted to discuss the findings and recommendations with her.
Ivory responded to Kehrwald’s email on July 15 with complaints about the IOA investigation: that “kissing and touching” while she was drunk is not as serious a charge as her alleged non-consensual oral sex, that the recommended sanctions were not serious, and that IOA had handled the case inattentively by sending letters to her parents’ house after she requested to only be sent emails.
“I will always be proud to be a Jayhawk, but I am deeply disappointed in your department’s clear lack of concern for the safety of other women on this campus by allowing [the respondent] to disappear into university life without poignant consequences for his actions,” she wrote.
Kehrwald responded to her email on July 18 by saying Student Conduct and Community Standards is an office in Student Affairs and had not been involved in IOA’s investigation.
“That is the sole responsibility of IOA,” he wrote.
Ivory never brought those complaints directly to IOA.
She said she had wanted the respondent at least suspended for a semester. She was disappointed. But, moving forward, she assumed the respondent would have to pay for the out-of-pocket expenses for therapy. She set up an appointment with a recommended therapist in Lawrence who wasn’t on her insurance plan.
Ivory emailed Kehrwald with the therapist’s name, contact number and how much each session would cost. At the time, she thought that it was Kehrwald’s job to enforce the sanctions that IOA recommended.
According to standard procedure, when an alleged violation of student conduct is reported, a conduct officer from Student Conduct and Community Standards reviews IOA’s investigation and decides if a violation occurred and what sanctions should be enforced.
On the morning of Aug. 18, Ivory met with Kehrwald in his office.
Kehrwald concluded that the facts as documented did not support a violation of the University’s sexual harassment policy, as later summarized in a Student Affairs notice dated Sept. 5. That notice addressed to Ivory says, “While you were incapacitated at the time of the incident there were not enough behavioral indicators to where the accused student knew or reasonably should have known of your incapacitation.”
According to that document, IOA’s report says that the respondent did not see Ivory drinking, that she was not slurring her speech, had no difficulty walking outside of the bar, that they made small talk in the car, and that she showed no difficulties walking into the fraternity. It said that the first signs that Ivory was drunk are made by another witness that she was swaying, appeared glossed over, and getting drunker as time passed “after the incident in question.”
She said Kehrwald told her no sanctions would be imposed. Even though IOA’s investigation had found the respondent had more likely than not engaged in non-consensual contact with her, she said she was told he would not be punished.
Barcomb-Peterson said Kehrwald, Student Conduct and Community Standards director, would not be able to comment on Ivory’s case until after the hearing.
Ivory said Kehrwald asked if she wanted to see her full IOA investigative report then. According to Brooks, these reports contain any evidence collected, including witness interviews, IOA’s analysis and the recommended sanctions.
Ivory said no, she wasn’t ready to read the report in Kehrwald’s office with him at that Aug. 18 meeting. She said Kehrwald asked if she wanted him to email it to her.
Ivory said Kehrwald gave her one other option at the Aug. 18 meeting. If she wanted, she could appeal his decision to a three-person panel. She said she has never requested or agreed to such a hearing.
She was emotionally exhausted. She had hoped the respondent would be punished by the University. IOA had concluded that he committed a violation, and now she was being told by Student Conduct and Community Standards that he had not. She didn’t want to appeal. She wanted to go home.
“The last thing I wanted to do was to continue with the University,” she said.
After reading about the light sanctions proposed by an appeals panel in another student’s rape case reported in the Huffington Post on Sept. 2, she said she’s glad she didn’t appeal.
“Apparently the people on the panel think that community service is too punitive, so what do you think they would have told me?” she said. “That guy admitted that he raped that girl. What do you think they would have told me?”
She said she thanked Kehrwald for his time, left his office without asking further questions, lay in bed and cried. She said no one followed up with her and Kehrwald never sent her the formal report, despite his offer to do so.
“That meeting killed an investigation of sexual assault and killed a sanction for sexual assault that was supposed to happen,” she said. “And they didn’t even bother to put it in writing and send it to me or ask me if I needed anything or give me a list of steps that I could take.”
She found a therapist in her insurance plan instead. She thought that was the end of the University’s action.
At 9:32 a.m. on Sept. 5, Ivory sent an email to Jennifer Brooks asking for a copy of the IOA investigative report that Kehrwald did not send her. While she said she wasn’t emotionally ready to read it herself, she agreed to give it to The Kansan.
At 9:53 a.m. on Sept. 5, she got an email from someone new.
Joshua Jones, the Student Conduct and Community Standards coordinator who works under Kehrwald, wrote to Ivory that a Formal Hearing Panel of her case had been scheduled for Friday, Sept. 19. A panel of three—a School of Education administrator, an officer manager in the School of Engineering and a student—is scheduled to decide if the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities was violated and if sanctions, including possible suspension or expulsion, are warranted.
Jones’s email says the hearing was scheduled under section VI.C.3 of the Student Non-Academic Conduct Procedures. Section VI.C.3 says an accused student will meet before a Formal Hearing Panel when expulsion or suspension is a likely sanction, and that accused student disputes facts. Ivory said Kehrwald’s decision was that the respondent faced no sanctions. IOA’s recommended sanctions never included expulsion or suspension.
Tammara Durham, vice provost for Student Affairs, wrote in an email statement, “When a case involves sexual assault, if a complaining party requests that the respondent student be suspended or expelled, Student Affairs will take the matter to a Formal Hearing Panel.”
Barcomb-Peterson said Joshua Jones, Student Conduct and Community Standards coordinator, would not be able to comment on Ivory’s case until after the scheduled hearing.
Ivory said she doesn’t want this hearing to happen. She said she was not asked if she wanted the hearing to happen. She and the respondent have the right to attend and participate.
“I can’t,” she said. “I can’t do it. I can’t be in the room with him again and have to talk about this all over again in front of complete strangers.”
She has a class when the hearing is scheduled. Jones’s email acknowledges this but says the chosen time is the earliest possible date given the availability of the hearing panel. Durham wrote in a statement that Student Affairs works with students to secure an excused absence and “ensure the student is able to obtain information from the missed class session so that the student is not prejudiced by the scheduling of the hearing.”
The formal hearing notice uses phrasing such as “your consumption of alcohol (tequila),” “while at The Jayhawk CafĂ© (‘The Hawk’),” and “displayed unusual behavior” in recounting the grounds for IOA’s conclusion that Ivory was incapacitated.
Jones’s email says that he will be bringing the case to the hearing panel on her behalf so Ivory is not required to attend the hearing. She hasn’t decided if she will.
Ivory decided to speak out to start a conversation and get University policy and the structure of Student Conduct and Community Standards changed. She said the Huffington Post report and the scrutiny that the University’s sexual assault policies have come under since made her realize she isn’t alone in being unhappy with how her sexual assault complaint was handled.
“They didn’t care until now,” she said. “How little they care is just becoming so apparent.”
— Edited by Emma LeGault and Amelia Arvesen

November 20: Ivory met the respondent at a bar and was allegedly sexually assaulted that night.
May 5: Ivory reported to IOA and accused respondent of non-consensual oral sex and attempting to penetrate her.
Mid-June: Ivory received official documents to her family’s home twice after she requested they be emailed to her @ku.edu address only.
June 30: IOA sent its conclusion and found it was more likely than not that the respondent assaulted her.
July 9: Kehrwald emailed Ivory saying he had received IOA’s report and wanted to discuss the findings and recommendations with her.
July 15: Ivory responded to Kehrwald’s email with complaints about the investigation. She disagreed with the recommended sanctions: probation for six months, that he meet with IOA staff, and that he pay restitution for therapy related to the case.
July 18: Kehrwald responded to her email. He said Student Conduct and Community Standards is an office in Student Affairs and had not been involved in IOA’s investigation.
Aug. 18: Ivory met Kehrwald in his office. She said he said the facts did not support a violation of the University’s Sexual Harassment policy. Ivory said he asked if she wanted to see the full investigative report. She declined. He said he could email it.
Sept. 2: The Huffington Post article was published.
Sept. 5: Ivory emailed Jennifer Brooks to request a copy of the IOA report that Kehrwald had not sent. Twenty minutes passed and Ivory received an email from Joshua Jones, the Student Conduct and Community Standards coordinator. He told her a Formal Hearing Panel of her case had been scheduled for Friday, Sept. 19.

 Key people:
Nick Kehrwald: Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards, under Student Affairs. He contacted Ivory on July 9 to discuss IOA’s recommendations included in the conclusion. He was in contact with her through email until they met in person on Aug. 18.
In that meeting, Kehrwald concluded that the facts as documented did not support a violation of the University’s Sexual Harassment policy.
Erinn Barcomb-Peterson: University’s Director of News and Media Relations since July. She told The Kansan no records will be released until after Ivory’s case is completed, including the Formal Hearing Panel scheduled for Sept. 19.
Jane McQueeny: Executive Director of IOA, will not be able to comment on Ivory’s case until after the scheduled hearing.
Jennifer Brooks: IOA Investigator assigned to Ivory’s case. According to Ivory, Brooks noted that Ivory did not want official documents to be mailed to her family’s home, but they arrived anyway in mid-June.
Joshua Jones: The Student Conduct and Community Standards coordinator who works under Kehrwald. He contacted Ivory on Sept. 5 for the first time alerting her that a hearing had been scheduled.
Amanda Schulze: Ivory’s friend from Wichita who knew how to report to IOA because she served on the Title IX sexual assault training subcommittee. She accompanied Ivory to the IOA office to report the assault.