Section: Editorial

Staff Editorial

Beginning this year, students no longer need to register small gatherings.

On the surface, the elimination of the registration requirement seeks to promote student independence and responsibility. We commend the College for looking critically at its own rules and working to foster the best environment for students, particularly at a time when many students feel the administration is out of touch with students’ daily experiences on this campus. Too often the College’s guidelines for parties feel overly paternalistic (see: last year’s Summer Sendoff changes), so a policy that at least intends to increase student freedom is a decision we wholeheartedly support and appreciate.

Unfortunately, the disorganization in the administration’s communications to students on the small gatherings policy — or, more fittingly, the lack thereof — suggests the updates may end up increasing oversight rather than relaxing it.

This issue of the Collegian includes our second article on the small gatherings policy in two weeks. It is rather telling that we ourselves are still not completely sure what the rules are for small parties here. That’s because none of our editors has been able to find substantial information on the guidelines anywhere on the Kenyon website or in the Student Handbook. Seemingly every time we call an administrative office, we are referred to a different office.

Some students in apartments finally received updated information this past Sunday from their Community Advisors. But this was the first instance of communication about the policy that we have seen so far this year — two weekends in.

Perhaps most unclear is apartment capacity, even though the administration said nothing has changed. The numbers aren’t on the Kenyon website. The Student Handbook describes how to calculate the occupancy, but our editors reached different numbers when we attempted to do the calculations. And Campus Safety has told students that, if the party isn’t too loud and guests aren’t flowing out of the space, the party will not be shut down. So, which one is it? Do students need to abide by the capacity, or do parties  need to be kept under control?

The lack of communication has led Safety to increase their presence at apartment parties. This past weekend, several NCAs were written up for overcrowding, despite the fact that the first detailed message on how to successfully follow the small gathering guidelines was only released on Sunday. We find it unfair that students have already been reported for violating the party policy when administrators failed to send students any information reminding them of the rules they are supposed to follow.

Events thus far ultimately suggest a tightening on the kinds of parties students can throw. If the current pattern of enforcement continues, it may have the effect of minimizing the number of small parties hosted, making bigger, all-campus parties the dominating force of the social scene. For a college that prides itself on its small, intimate community, this would be a shame. Sadly, the possibility is all too real.

All students needed was one simple, explanatory email of the ins and outs of the current party policy before the beginning of this academic year. That isn’t much to ask.

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