Section: Opinion

Editors’ Corner

This weekend finds our trustees gathered in Peirce for their fall conference. Steering the college is daunting, I imagine: when the board sits down to review the new proposals, it is joined by 190 years of tradition and countless more of future expectations, and it must plot out a course in the intervening present.

Kenyon’s past and future do sometimes seem at odds. The year we became coeducational, they no doubt appeared to part ways altogether, but time passed and a divisive season became Kenyon canon. But Kenyon’s ability to assimilate its choices calls for even greater care by the trustees, for we might assimilate a bad decision with equal ease.

The Board should avoid a decline into a generic “academic excellence” that tempts similar colleges. The arms race for rankings suggests that we become known for everything instead of our writing, to lower acceptance rates by increasing application numbers, to build quaint, drywalled housing and scheme to become more like the Princetons that populate the top five. But an identity of any meaning comes by excluding some traits over others, choosing to be something instead of wanting to be everything. Kenyon will evolve as it always has, but it should not be in blind imitation of others.


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