Section: Editorial

Clarifying the relationship between CAs, ResLife and the press

In our Sept. 27 staff editorial, “Ban on CA Collegian interviews must end,” we stated that “when we reach out to CAs, we get the same answer time and time again: They don’t want to talk to us for fear of losing their jobs.”

Since the publication of this editorial, members of our executive staff have met with Director of Residential Life (ResLife) and Assistant Dean of Students Jill Engel-Hellman to clarify these statements.

According to Engel-Hellman, there has never been a ResLife policy to forbid Community Advisors (CAs) from speaking with the Collegian.

Engel-Hellman has also stated to our staff that a ResLife committee is in the process of updating the CA manual with specific language to clarify the relationship between CAs and members of the press, Collegian or otherwise.

According to Pranav Mulpur ’19 a head CA in the first year area, there had not previously been any written policy in the manual in regards to the Collegian or any other campus publication. Mulpur is a part of the committee dedicated to updating the manual.

“While CAs are somewhat limited by certain considerations, such as state, federal and college policies securing the privacy of student information, we have always been free to talk to the press otherwise,” he wrote in an email to the Collegian. “However, the issue is not really addressed in our CA Manual, which is why we may be seeing some confusion. My hope is that this clarification removes any uncertainty in the minds of CAs or campus journalists about this issue.”

We as a staff are encouraged by these clarifications, because a general written policy (or lack thereof) is not always enough to curtail misconceptions. John Lyons ’17, a former CA, remembers being under the impression that CAs could speak on the record as students, but not as CAs.

“In my personal opinion,” he wrote in an email, “the whole policy seemed designed to minimize student input about policy changes.”

Engel-Hellman stated that she does “not remember ever saying that” CAs couldn’t go on the record as CAs.

Moving forward, we anticipate having a communicative and constructive relationship with the CAs and ResLife.

As with any job on or off campus, we recognize the difficulties and risks of speaking to the press about one’s employer. But it is our job to report the news on this campus, and that gives us the responsibility to ask  individuals who have the best information for interviews. We wish to emphasize that those individuals can always decline an interview with no explanation necessary.

If a CA — or anyone else — has any questions or concerns about our policies, please reach out to our staff at kenyoncollegian@gmail.com.

The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief Cameron Messinides ’19 and Devon Musgrave-Johnson ’19, managing editor Grant Miner ’19 and executive director Matt Mandel ’19. You can contact them at messinidesc@kenyon.edu, musgravejohnsond@kenyon.edu, minerg@kenyon.edu and mandelm@kenyon.edu, respectively.

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