When the basement of the new Gambier retail spaces flooded on Feb. 13, Kenyon’s student-run radio station WKCO was forced to delay their relocation plans. WKCO had been scheduled to move into Farr Hall that week, a plan that had been in the works for over a year. The water damage is just one more roadblock in the station’s path to a permanent location.
On Friday, members of WKCO placed posters around campus alerting the community to this problem, stating: “WKCO torn down 2017. WKCO promised new space Oct. 2018 — unfulfilled. WKCO promised new space Jan. 2019 — unfulfilled. WKCO new space floods within 1st week,” and “WKCO still without a working space.” The posters appeared around Peirce dining hall as well as in front of the Bookstore.
Following its move in 2018 to the third floor of Peirce Dining Hall, the Kenyon radio station struggled to adjust. In recent months, minor complaints have been joined by more pressing issues. Following the destruction of the Olin and Chalmers Memorial Library, the Office of Student Accessibility and Support Services (SASS) relocated to the room adjacent to WKCO’s current location. Because students take exams in the SASS office, the WKCO DJs are unable to play music out loud during the day. At night, students are allowed to play audible music, but are required to keep the volume low. Students working at WKCO have also raised hygiene concerns: the proximity to the Peirce servery has led to a pileup of dirty dishes, and mousetraps have been set out to combat mice living in the space.
Mark Kohlman, chief business officer, assures students that the radio’s relocation has only been delayed. “By the end of next week all the flood damage will be repaired and back to normal,” Kohlman said. “We fully expect, barring any other natural disasters, that when you guys get back from spring break, they’ll be able to use the new radio station space.”
However, Jeb Backe ’19, WKCO’s co-general manager, says that the relocation has been delayed before. “We were promised to hco-ave the new space ready by October,” Backe wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Then in November we were promised to have the space in [the] new year. When we arrived on campus in January it was not ready.”
Backe is grateful that the school provided them a space to begin with, but the frustrations are beginning to pile up. “All we want is just to be treated with respect and have some follow through on promises,” Backe wrote. “It would also be nice to be able to function normally again.”
President Sean Decatur acknowledged the role of renovation in the issues WKCO currently faces. While he regrets that this semester is so difficult for the organization, he feels that the building projects will improve the campus in the long run.
“Once things are settled in and once there’s both the new recording studio and the new space there, [I think] that the final product will be really good,” Decatur said. “It’s one of the inherent problems with doing work on a campus that [the idea of] ‘long-term good’ can ring empty to folks who are currently on campus. I think this is a case where WKCO, especially this semester, is getting impacted, but the long-term picture is quite good.”