If you are like most students at Kenyon, you picked up a copy of the Collegian and immediately flipped to this page, eager for the latest edition of the notorious weekly log that is the Village Record.
You were likely surprised to see the list of just three entries. We, too, were surprised when we asked Campus Safety for the incident log we use to compile the Village Record and were informed the VR would now only include incidents the Clery Act required the College to report (such as sexual assault, hate crimes and vandalism). Furthermore, there would be no more narratives. In the first version Safety sent us, incidents were reduced to “alcohol violation” or “drug violation,” and nothing more.
Our editors met with members of senior staff attempting to understand why the logs we’ve accessed for 20 years were suddenly so sparse. Meredith Harper Bonham ’94, vice president of student affairs, said there were concerns the VR betrayed student anonymity. When we asked President Sean Decatur more broadly about the issue of transparency at Kenyon, he mentioned fears of litigation if identities somehow became exposed.
Though these concerns are valid, we were unconvinced. The Village Record is more than just a snapshot of weekend antics. It is an honest transcript of student violations, vandalism and violence. The VR is not the idyllic version of Kenyon in admissions pamphlets — it is an unpolished look at student life, a perspective students want and deserve to see.
After multiple discussions with senior staffers, we were happy to discover, as we were producing this issue Wednesday night, that the College conceded. The VR log now includes more detailed narratives, unlike that first version, though locations are still vague and fewer incidents will be publicized. Administrative transparency is a constant point of contention. Students must hold the College accountable when we are denied information — the Village Record may never be the same, but we’re glad that Kenyon is at least listening.