On Tuesday, Lauren Barrabee ’24 created a petition that would give students a mental health day on Nov. 2. Barrabee shared the petition via an all-student email. As of Oct. 23, the petition had garnered 611 signatures.
In June, President Sean Decatur announced that the fall 2020 semester would not include an October break, so as to limit travel to and from campus and thereby prevent the spread of COVID-19. Professors and students alike have felt the effects of the break’s absence this semester, as Barrabee stated in her petition.
“As students at Kenyon College, we feel there is a great need to take a day off from academics in order to clear our minds, and take some time to attend to our mental wellbeing so that we can continue to thrive in the academic setting,” Barrabee wrote.
Barrabee said she initially created the petition on a whim after receiving an email from one of her professors about her grade in the class that sent her into panic. “An email should not be able to cause this much anxiety,” she said. Later, Barrabee spoke to one of her friends, who suggested she start a petition.
When she sent out the email, Barrabee did not expect the petition to gain as much popularity as it has. “Seeing how many people are signing it, and are [also] needing a break, is blowing my mind,” she said.
Barrabee said she plans to send the petition to Decatur by this weekend. She hopes that it will reach 750 or 800 signatures — about half of the College’s student body — by then.
When the Collegian asked Decatur about the possibility of adding a fall break to this semester, he declined to comment. “Interpret that as you will,” he said.
Those who are interested in signing Barrabee’s petition can do so here.