As one of our staff members said during our last night in the Collegian office, “It’s been wild.” It really has. Kenyon has embarked on tremendous shifts this year, and they were not just cosmetic.
This year, we broke a story about a racially motivated stop by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. We wrote several in-depth articles about The Good Samaritan, and we chronicled the stripping of student support groups’ confidentiality. Though the events of this past year have each had an effect on our campus, they are not isolated incidents. We believe that they are symptoms of Kenyon’s underlying culture of privilege and exclusion.
These are all stories that have implications for community dialogue and action as we decide how the College will look and feel in the future. We thought about our responsibility to our readers at every step of the way because we understand the critical role student journalists play on college campuses across the country.
We are deeply concerned about the legacy of these events and hope that they won’t be forgotten over the summer. As we’ve been saying all year — we have work to do in order to make this place an inclusive space for intellectual pursuit, and we hope these changes and conversations won’t stall out simply because of our distance from them.
To break away from this privileged culture — a culture that routinely marginalizes underrepresented students on this campus — we must continue to strive for accountability and transparency. Those who have power on this campus should be held accountable to the student body for their administrative decisions, and they should promote open communication, and receptiveness to new ideas, instead of constantly trying to explain their reasoning and never modifying their stance.
Although changes in administrative policies are necessary to move forward, we as students do not have direct influence over those decisions. We do have direct influence over our own actions. We must hold each other — and ourselves — accountable for being complicit in Kenyon’s systemic cultural issues. No one is going to swoop in deus-ex-machina-style and save us from ourselves.
As activist Winona LaDuke said when she visited campus this year, “Don’t just say what’s wrong. Envision what’s right.”
If you want this campus to change for the better, work to change it.
The staff editorial was written this week by Vol. 145 editors-in-chief Bailey Blaker ’18 and Gabrielle Healy ’18 and managing editor Lauren Eller ’18. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.