Common Reading Experience at UK – Respecting Our Students’ Rights Under Title IX

This just in from Annie Kelly of New Student and Family Programs:

New York Times Bestseller: Picking CottonI wanted to take this opportunity to introduce our 2015-2016 Common Reading Experience book, Picking Cotton, as well as give some important information related to Title IX (as it relates to the book) you will need to know.

The Common Reading Experience (CRE) is designed to introduce students to academic life at the University of Kentucky through a common intellectual experience with peers, faculty, and staff. This summer students will read Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton. Students will then participate in a small-group discussion with other new students and their K Crew leaders during K Week in August. Throughout the first year on campus, students will engage in a variety of CRE programs including the CRE lecture by authors Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton.

The Common Reading Experience program wants new students, parents and families, and the UK community to know Picking Cotton will be read and utilized on campus with great sensitivity due to the issues it raises, such as sexual assault and racial dynamics. The book was selected as these issues are at the forefront of societal discussion, and although challenging to read about and discuss, the authors also weave in the powerful themes of forgiveness, redemption, and resilience.

As university faculty and advisors, it will be very important to note the following information regarding Title IX and Picking Cotton.

This book carries a trigger warning. By law, if students are survivors of sexual assault, they are entitled to appropriate academic accommodations. These students may elect to only read Ronald Cotton’s chapters of Picking Cotton (except pages 127 and 131) or contact the Office of New Student and Family Programs/Common Reading Experience to discuss other alternatives. Under federal Title IX regulations, if a student discloses a sexual assault to a UK affiliate (staff, faculty, student leader, etc.), it will need to be reported to the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity. If a student does not wish to report his or her assault, the individual may utilize the support and anonymity of the Counseling Center and/or Violence Intervention and Prevention Center (VIP).

It is important to note that students who report sexual misconduct before coming to UK do not need to be reported.

The CRE program has provided a variety of support and materials to assist new students as they are reading the book. Please familiarize yourself with the attached materials which are being given to students during “see blue.” U and refer your students to them as a resource (click on title to download .pdf file):

  • CRE Insert: This quarter-page insert will be placed into every CRE book, which overviews students’ Title IX rights and academic accommodations.
  • CRE Reader’s Guide: This multi-page document will be inserted into the students’ “see blue.” Uorientation folders. It includes facts and statistics on sexual assault, reflection questions, and the QLC assignment.
  • CRE Campus Resource Guide: This national and campus resource guide can be found on the back of the President’s Letter printed in the book. It overviews campus resources and national resources students can use as they reflect on and process the book.
  • CRE Parent and Family Insert: This insert can be found in each parent and family “see blue.” U orientation folders, which overviews and discusses the book.

If you have any questions regarding the CRE program or book, please contact the Office of New Student and Family Programs at (859) 257-6597 or Annie Kelly, Coordinator of the Common Reading Experience, at

Thank you for your support!


Annie Kelly
Assistant Director of New Student & Family Programs
Division of Student Affairs
University of Kentucky
518 Patterson Office Tower
Lexington, KY 40506-0027

Phone: (859) 257-6597
Fax: (859) 323-1525


About UK Student and Academic Life

Undergraduate Education is now recreated within the Division of Student and Academic Life in the Provost's Office at the University of Kentucky.
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