Section: News

Student Council weighs new mental health organizations

On Sunday, Student Council met to discuss upcoming class parties and the College’s plan to phase out tiered housing rates. The Council also heard proposals from The Hidden Opponent at Kenyon and Morgan’s Message at Kenyon, two organizations aimed at raising mental health awareness for athletes. 

Vice President for Student Affairs Celestino Limas unveiled the Board of Trustees’ plan to shift from its current six housing rates to only one over the course of the next four years. In the fall of 2024, the College will transition from six rates to three, and then eventually to one standard rate by the fall of 2026. Thanks to the construction of Bexley Hall and the addition of new residences on the South Quad, 44.5% of on-campus housing will then be apartments or suite-style residence halls. Limas explained that, unlike other institutions, the College does not practice differential tuition — where rates vary depending on one’s major or meal plan — because it creates barriers for lower-income students. Housing is the exception to this rule, and Limas hopes that this process will make it more equitable for all. “Many students don’t get to live where they want to, particularly in their older years, because of costs,” said Limas.

The Council also heard proposals for two new student organizations — The Hidden Opponent and Morgan’s Message. Because of the similarities between the two, the Council chose to vote on them simultaneously. 

Jacqueline McKeown ’23 led the proposal for The Hidden Opponent, which is a national non-profit organization that aims to normalize conversations surrounding mental health in athletics. Hidden Opponent chapters provide resources to athletic teams and coaches that will help them get engaged with de-stigmatizing mental health problems. 

Sam Lee ’24 and Casey O’Neill ’24 presented Morgan’s Message, which is also a national organization that advocates for mental health support for athletes. The group hopes to raise more awareness of the resources available to student-athletes at Kenyon, as well as dedicating different games to mental health support. 

The Council questioned at length the potential for the organizations’ related goals to cause competition, as well as why the two chapters could not be combined. However, McKeown emphasized that together, the organizations will be able to reach a wider audience, as Hidden Opponent is more informational while Morgan’s Message is more events-based. Both Hidden Opponent and Morgan’s Message were approved with the stipulation that a joint committee with the organizations and the Student Life Committee will oversee their implementation.

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