Section: Opinion

No excuse for laying waste to Cove

Though student anger is justified, vandalism is shameful

I wasn’t a “Cove person.” I rarely ordered the food, I almost never went to the bar itself, and I did not witness the destruction that occurred on Feb. 20. But I’m not surprised it happened.

It’s no secret Kenyon students have the capacity for destruction. During my time here I have seen installation art destroyed and defecated on, benches overturned, property stolen, trash strewn everywhere and a massive list of other offenses committed by students. I know this doesn’t include everyone — I’m opposed to the generalized lumping of “college students” into one mass of immature, intoxicated idiots.

Piecing together the incident from Yik Yak posts and word of mouth, it was clear many other people were disgusted by the destructive acts committed that night. I came across an image on social media of a sink ripped off the wall in the men’s restroom and was reminded of a time my father was looking at potential rental property. The previous owners of the house had been evicted, taking away sinks, toilets, pipes and cabinets in anger.

Eviction of any kind can be emotionally taxing. The opinions of the students who took it into their own hands — literally — to let others know they did not agree with the closing of the Cove are clear. Though I don’t condone the actions, I sympathize with the feelings behind them.

The Gambier Grill may  have been a cheap establishment serving greasy food and pitchers of beer, but it represents the feelings of (at least a large portion of) the student body that feels it has no say or representation in the way the college they pay for is run. If you love something, why destroy it? I understand why students favor the casual nature of the Cove, but this vandalism shows a complete lack of respect for the employees who managed the establishment for which many students have expressed such an affinity.

The destruction of property reads as complete disrespect. Actions of this nature cannot gain the acceptance of others. While I am upset and concerned about the way my fellow students acted, I also see what this destruction warns. What does this incident foreshadow about the potential interim late-night food option?

I don’t think the anger about the closing of the Cove will fizzle out any time soon. Will Peirce Pub — a suggested replacement — suffer the same effects of drunken rage against the administration?

My hope is Kenyon, and those who run it, will take heed. An open dialogue and sense of transparency is important in preventing incidents like this from occurring, and allowing students to feel their voice is heard in a constructive way.

Reagan Neviska ’17 is an anthropology major from Fredericktown, Ohio. Contact her at neviskar@kenyon.edu.

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