Section: News

Students react to new protest policy

For the first time since the Vietnam War, the Kenyon administration is updating its protest policy.

On Nov. 15, Campus Senate hosted an open meeting in Leach Dining Room to discuss the changes. A draft of the new policy had been distributed to the campus via email the day prior, and the meeting was a chance for members of the Kenyon community to voice their thoughts and concerns.

As it currently appears on the school website, Kenyon’s protest policy is composed of a single sentence: “Kenyon welcomes and encourages serious discussion on any issue from all points of view, but the College will not condone behavior that threatens the safety of individuals or is intended to prevent, obstruct or interfere with any of its activities and programs.”

Some students worry that this policy gives the administration too much say in what kinds of protests are and are not allowed.

“It’s very vague,” Delaney Barker ’20, student co-chair on Campus Senate, said. “What are ‘its activities and programs,’ you know? What, does it mean to ‘obstruct something?’ We wanted to create rules and guidelines to allow students to be able to protest without fear of repercussion.”

The new policy was received favorably by the students and faculty in attendance, according to Barker. Several changes were suggested to the draft’s wording, primarily to add clarity to the new regulations. However, the consensus seemed to be that student protests wouldn’t look much different under the new policy. “When we discussed the policy in club [Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) at Kenyon], we generally came to an agreement that it wouldn’t have a huge impact,” Joe DeAngelo ’21, co-chair of  YDSA, said.

Still, Barker is optimistic that the new policy will fulfill the needs of the Kenyon community.

“I’ve been with this since the beginning and I really like where it’s going,” Barker said. “I believe it’s the right step for Kenyon and I think it will make protests more equal among students, regardless of their financial background.”

Dec. 13, 2018 Clarification: Joe DeAngelo’s ’21 opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of other YDSA members. 

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