Section: Opinion

2020 Plan’s Vision is blurry

Over spring break, a draft of President Sean Decatur’s 2020 Plan was released online. The nearly seven-page document is the product of a year of discussions led by Decatur with students, faculty and staff, and serves as the first step toward a purportedly better Kenyon by the year 2020. While the plan places emphasis on diversity, community and student experiences with such words as “collaborate,” “integrate” and “strengthen,” it does not say who will be acting out these verbs. The Collegian is aware that the plan is a draft, but we wish it painted a clearer picture of what exactly will be done to build a better Kenyon. How long will it be before Ascension Hall is fitted with an elevator? When will the amount of financial aid available increase and how will that happen? What is in consideration for the College’s next housing project?

In an interview with the Collegian this week, Decatur emphasized that the plan is to be used more as a roadmap, guiding and prioritizing future plans, than actually getting the ball rolling on them. But given that the plan took a year to draft, how much can get done in slightly fewer than five years? Granted, the reason the draft took so long is because of the diligent effort Decatur made to consult with so many members of the community. The community, however, has not held up its end of that bargain. At a forum held by Decatur this past Tuesday night, only six people, all students, were in attendance, including the Collegian reporter writing the 2020 article for this issue. If we want specific changes to be made — if we want our voices to be heard — we have to do our part.

Does the plan sufficiently excite the community? It isn’t fair to ask us to get excited about a plan we don’t understand. Many initiatives suggested by the plan are steps in the right direction for Kenyon. Our lack of diversity, both economic and racial, is an issue that must be corrected if we want to have a student body that reflects our world. Similarly, taking a step in the practical direction and upping our career development game is smart for everyone. We appreciate, too, that the plan explicitly prioritizes maintaining the aspects of liberal arts culture that make us, in the draft’s words, “question and reflect upon one’s place in the universe.” We’d like to question and reflect upon this 2020 plan draft more productively, but don’t feel there’s enough concrete to go on.


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