Amidst 11 student-run campus media and news publications, a new voice recently stepped into the spotlight. The mysterious Facebook profile “Allison Skew” launched a WordPress blog, entitled All-Skew, and corresponding Facebook page this November. This reporter spoke with the student behind the blog in an anonymous conversation conducted via Facebook chat.
All-Skew is wordplay on all-student emails, or “all-stus” for short. The blog posts featured on All-Skew are short and satirical in nature. Each one aims to poke fun at a different email or set of emails addressed to students on campus by imitating their structure and content. “We felt that there were communications on this campus that were funny or problematic and no publication was specifically pointing them out,” Skew said.
The blog joins the rank of publications like the Collegiate and The Kenyon Thrill, which publish Kenyon-specific humor or satire. When asked to give a hint as to their identity, Skew responded, “The publication has between 1-300 staff writers, and our median European shoe size is a 39.”
In some ways, All-Skew finds humor in subjects students already make fun of. Last year, an email to all students was widely criticized for a party perceived to be culturally appropriative. When students replied-all to these emails, they generated long and obnoxious email chains but also created a platform for student body discussion. The anonymous All-Skew creator says the blog seeks to achieve a similar purpose. The writer has penned satire inspired by similarly controversial topics among the student body; “24-hour Quiet Hours Start For Whole Campus, Continue For Already-Silenced Marginalized Group” implicitly referenced the removal of flags placed in protest by the Black Student Union this past fall. Mimicking an email sent by the Office of Housing and Residential Life, All-Skew wrote that all POC, women, queer people, religious minorities and other marginalized groups on campus would be unaffected by the quiet hours: “Just keep doing your thing. We’ll make sure you continue not to be heard.”
The publication notes that its presence on campus is meant to inspire individual students to address concerns themselves by sending emails or meeting with administrators. Some students agree as well. “It adds something to the campus,” Bella Blofield ’19 said. “It highlights conversations that happen on campus anyway, only they can be discussed and observed online.”
Alyson Palia ’19 also enjoys the publication and the conversations it has sparked on campus. She referenced a post, “Textbooks depreciate 8000% in value the moment you drive them off the lot,” which poked fun at the plummeting resale value of college textbooks.
“I think the most entertaining part of All-Skew is just the fact that all of the articles deal with things students have all felt at one time or another,” Palia said. “Realizing that other people are having the same experiences, it’s validating.”
Some articles might hit a little too close to home. Several articles directly mention student groups, such as the Men’s Lacrosse Team or The Black Student Union, while others mention members of the College’s staff. A staff member who was named in one of these articles declined to comment for this article, for fear that acknowledging this writer would only provoke them.
In response to allegations of cyberbullying, All-Skew said, “We don’t make cheap shots. Part of being a decision-maker on campus is fielding criticism for your decisions; we appreciate the work the administration does. We want to challenge choices that feel misguided.”
The All-Skew creators also have lofty goals; when asked what they hoped to achieve by the creation of this blog, All-Skew said, “We are on track to solve world hunger by finals week.”