2018-19 RAINN Executive Report Summary

In conjunction with Locke Lord’s investigation into instances of sexual abuse in the School’s past, Hotchkiss contracted the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) to conduct an audit of the School’s sexual misconduct prevention and response policies. The review offered a generally positive assessment of Hotchkiss’s current practices and outlined several key recommendations to better serve students and the community as a whole. 

Broadly speaking, RAINN found the School’s policies and procedures to be thoughtfully constructed and reflective of its practices. Based on RAINN’s analysis, we plan to organize our existing policies related to sexual misconduct into a cohesive, standalone document. In addition to this restructuring, RAINN also recommended that the School implement a systematic annual review of our sexual misconduct policies and procedures. 

The School’s main entity for addressing issues of sexual misconduct is the Community Conduct Council (CCC), which consists of faculty and administrators. To strengthen the overall response process, RAINN recommended the assignment of specific duties to each member of the CCC, as well as the creation of a part-time sexual misconduct prevention and response coordinator role. We are currently looking to fill this position for the 2019-20 academic year. 

Ongoing training for adult members of the community remains a high priority, which the RAINN report reiterated. Their review recommended an additional evaluation of prospective employees to ensure that they are well-suited to work in a boarding school environment; it also recommended continuing our practice of regular background checks on all adult members of the community — including volunteers, contractors, and domestic partners. 

Overall, RAINN determined that Hotchkiss has established a strong foundation for a highly effective sexual misconduct prevention and response program. Their findings were consistent with our own assessment of the work that needs to be done to ensure that our policies and procedures are fully aligned with our core values — and that all of our students feel safe, seen, and supported.