Section: Opinion

Student Council lacks diversity, and it’s a problem

StuCo positions carry real power

I find the lack of women and minorities in campus governance disturbing. As the person tasked with club approvals, I know campus is overflowing with passionate individuals. I talk with students weekly about executing their group’s mission and what they can bring to campus, but very few of these people are involved in campus government.

Involvement in Student Council provides voting members with the ability to decide how the student activities fee is spent, which clubs and organizations exist on campus, how students are represented to the administration and a direct path of communication with the board of trustees and President Sean Decatur.

Campus governance needs diverse representation for a number of reasons: First, so minority opinions are voiced in a way that can lead to actual change; second, so Kenyon can show it values the opinions of those who have not traditionally held power; and third, so student government can get some new blood, and pervasive campus issues can be addressed.

Though a number of wonderful groups on campus exist to voice the experiences and feelings of their members, none has the same built-in relationship with the administration as Student Council. When students in other organizations identify a problem, they have to jump through hoops to have it addressed. In contrast, a problem identified on Council has fewer obstacles to being recognized and larger action being taken.

Student government is currently majority white, majority male and majority those who have been encouraged to run by  former members of StuCo. Though a certain amount of experience is desirable, we run the risk of voting the same people in year after year. This consistency is negative when those individuals cease to represent their constituents accurately. Kenyon is becoming increasingly diverse, and it is time its elected body represent that diversity.

Finally, Kenyon has a series of problems that have not received the attention they deserve. These include sexual assault, the tuition for international students, discrepancies in campus housing quality, the wages of campus workers and other issues that barely register as a blip on the radar of a campus that spent multiple weeks worrying about Sendoff. If new representatives with diverse experiences and concerns are elected, I think Kenyon can only be made better.

Sarah Adrianowycz ’16, vice president of student life, is a biology major from Brecksville, Ohio. Contact her at adrianowyczs@kenyon.edu.

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