Section: Opinion

Blacklisting is more than cancel culture

Blacklisting at all-campus parties is a complicated issue that has put many student leaders on edge. Student organizations who have hosted all-campus parties in the past have created blacklists, whether written or unwritten. These lists, compiled by members of the organization (or in some cases, other affiliated students), include names of students who are banned from the group’s all-campus events. Some require reasons, while others do not.

The problem here, as detailed in this week’s article “Student Council, administration try to tackle ‘blacklisting,’” is that, according to the Office of Civil Rights’ interpretation of the Student Handbook social events policy, a party designated as “all-campus” is a public event open to all. This could conflict with the Office of Student Engagement’s interpretation of the same policy, which states that organizations have the right to deny someone entry to an “all-campus” party due to a number of factors, such as if they are visibly intoxicated or if the party is over capacity.

As we argued in our Feb. 7 editorial, “Kenyon needs all-campuses,” getting rid of all-campuses should not be part of this discussion — Kenyon’s social culture would suffer, and the administration should not use this issue as an opportunity to eliminate them altogether.

Blacklists at all-campuses and other large-capacity parties are a necessary evil in Kenyon’s current social culture, but only if the organization has given an individual a reason. An individual who has started a fight at a previous party, harassed a member of the hosting organization or would be a danger to attendees in any way should not be allowed to attend a party held by that organization until they have made a clear and conscious change in their behavior. This is a necessary form of discrimination to ensure that partygoers can enjoy themselves safely.

Yes, it can be ostracizing to be blacklisted. You must immediately leave the party, leaving friends and the music behind. But, if you are given a valid reason for your temporary expulsion from the space, ideally by the leader of the organization, you will have a chance to examine your past or current actions and improve your future behavior.

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, musgravejohnsond, minerg@kenyon.


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