UPDATE: Since posting this on Monday, Into Account has received eight reports about violence and abuse at Hesston College from individual survivors.
Every person who reports to us has the right to confidentiality and control over their story. All we will say is that the reports we are receiving corroborate the patterns in the reports that led us to make this public call.
If you’ve been raped, sexually assaulted, stalked, sexually harassed, or experienced gender-based or racially-based hate or violence at Hesston College and been dismissed or retraumatized by Hesston officials, you are not alone in your experiences. We want you to know that you have options.
Into Account has received numerous reports from Hesston College students and employees who share that when they reported sexual violence to Deb Roth, current Vice President of Student Life, it was diminished, covered up, ignored, and mishandled. There is a clear pattern across these reports of Roth and other Hesston officials purposefully minimizing survivors’ experiences to keep them from going through the Title IX complaint process. Some survivors were forced into mediation with their perpetrators, others were lied to about the details of Title IX policy by people in authority, and multiple survivors ended up dropping out of school as a result.
We have spoken with parents of some of the student survivors, and we observe growing concern among parents that Hesston College is mishandling abuse reports. We have also brought reports from multiple individuals to Mennonite Education Agency Executive Director Michael Danner. We are not aware of any action taken on behalf of MEA.
We want survivors to know they have options for reporting, whether they are current or former members of the Hesston College community. It can be difficult to navigate those options while also dealing with memories of traumatic, demeaning, or confusing experiences. We are here to help. If you report to us at Into Account, we can give you the best information we have and accompany you through any reports you decide to make. We can help protect your autonomy and your privacy so that you have the space and time to make the best decision for you. We can also help you make a report to Hesston College and/or the police department if you choose.
Please share this among current students and recent graduates of Hesston College so that people who have been affected can feel seen and seek accountability if they choose to do so.
You can report directly here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.