Section: News

Senate extends timeline to retire Lords and Ladies monikers

Campus Senate is moving forward with its plan to retire the College’s current monikers, the Lords and Ladies. While the final vote was initially slated to occur this October, the Senate now aims for the process to be completed within the 2021-22 academic year. 

This decision to change the monikers follows a lengthy investigation into the merits and drawbacks of the possible change. In their April report to President Sean Decatur, the Senate examined the history behind the current monikers, student and faculty opinions on them and the extent to which they reflect the recently updated Kenyon mission statement. These efforts were geared towards evaluating whether or not the monikers accurately embodied Kenyon values — weighing the relative importance of tradition, inclusivity and pride. 

Advocates of the change cite the binary nature of the terms “Lords” and “Ladies” as the chief issue of the monikers. 

“These options do not reflect the diverse culture we have at Kenyon in our student or athlete populations with regard to gender,” Campus Senate Student Co-chair Delaney Gallagher ’23 wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Just because the NCAA still has sports teams classified as women’s or men’s does not mean all athletes on those teams identify as such.” 

A portion of athletes, alumni, and other students and faculty oppose the change, emphasizing the history behind the monikers, regard for tradition and their sense of personal attachment to the names under which they have won various athletic titles. These constitute a minority of current Kenyon students, however: In a survey of the student body last semester, 62.4% of respondents indicated with either a “yes” or a “strong yes” that they felt the current monikers were not representative of Kenyon’s values. In comparison, 35.2% responded with a “no” or “strong no,” and 1.2% were undecided. 

While the process thus far has consisted primarily of weighing the benefits and downsides of the moniker change, the Senate plans to move beyond that into selecting a possible replacement. Although the original plan, which had anticipated ranked-choice voting forms to be sent out to the student body in early October, has been delayed, the next steps remain the same. The Senate will send out a form to students, faculty and staff requesting ideas for new monikers, which the Senate will review and narrow down to a few options. These remaining options will be sent to the student body to vote on later this year.

Another option is simply to discontinue the current moniker and wait for a replacement to surface naturally. Gallagher, however, hopes for something more concrete, stressing the importance of transparency and closure. “Doing anything [other than selecting a replacement] will inevitably lead to a lack of clarity to students, a completely upset student body for a lack of agency and choice in the future of what our moniker or mascot could be, and a still angry alumni base for removing the formality of the Lords and Ladies from official events,” Gallagher said.



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