Section: Editorial

Staff Editorial: College’s Middle Path restoration project doesn’t go far enough

Students came back from the summer to find mesh construction fences where trees once graced Middle Path. Some even christened this bald portion of the path, near Bexley Hall, “Middle Gash.” Middle Gash resulted from both the need to replace 47 diseased trees and the College’s plan to install “stabilized gravel” for better drainage to the path, section by section. Our issue is not the temporary unsightliness of Middle Gash — the doomed trees had to go and something had to be done about the perilous flooding during inclement weather (which is most Ohio weather).

Our issue is that Middle Path’s overhaul doesn’t go far enough. One of the College’s press releases, published on July 1, noted that Director of Student Accessibility and Support Services Erin Salva ’79 objected to the restoration plan. The plan, according to Salva, doesn’t create slopes from the path to the street smooth enough for assistance vehicles and the only “slightly firmer” gravel will still not be stable enough for easy wheelchair access. Kenyon is well-known for its breathtaking campus, and that’s something to be proud of, but our campus’ lack of accessibility is not. In 2014, it’s something to be ashamed of. We’d like to see a Middle Path plan that combines aesthetics with accessibility, and there’s no reason to believe that these priorities are mutually exclusive. The College doesn’t need to do anything drastic, like paving Middle Path over with concrete slabs (even if it’s fun to imagine the sheer rage that would follow from alumni if this happened). We think think that the smooth but rustic aggregate finish, suggested by Salva, offers a sensible solution.

Admissions lauds Middle Path as an “artery” connecting all areas of campus and fostering Kenyon’s tight-knit community. We aren’t much of a community, however, if we make life unnecessarily difficult for those among us with disabilities. Kenyon is more than just a pretty campus. It is an institution of higher learning for all its students.


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