There’s no need to continue dancing around the subject. Kenyon needs to change its mascot.
The Lords and Ladies represent a rigid gender binary that does not accurately reflect the Kenyon community and the multiple identities within it. Nonbinary students, and student-athletes in particular, are forced to be identified by a name that is at least problematic and at most transphobic.
Similarly, the Lords and Ladies moniker is classist in its assumption of the types of people that go to Kenyon. Lords and ladies are synonymous with aristocracy, and even though the titles are not part of our modern society, their usage still recalls the age-old association between lords and ladies and upper-class sensibilities.
We know that for some on campus this change may not seem necessary, and for many alumni it will be a hard sell. But as the current generation of Kenyon students, and the most diverse group ever, it is important that we prioritize current and future Kenyon student-athletes and their mental health above anything else.
This kind of change is not unprecedented. Across the country, the legacy of antiquated and hurtful team names are finally being addressed: The Washington Football Team recently changed its name, and the Cleveland Indians have committed to removing their moniker. There’s no longer an excuse for Kenyon to sit idly by and watch while the sporting world changes around it.
The mascots are no longer reflective of the Kenyon community, and Kenyon athletes are taking the brunt of that heat. Recently, Kenyon athletes have reported being made fun of during games for the mascot’s — and, subsequently, the College’s — “snobbish” connotation.
President Decatur has asked Campus Senate to consider the mascot and its meaning. But simply contemplating a change is not enough. In order to demonstrate Kenyon’s commitment to social justice and inclusivity, it must change the mascot to something that accurately reflects the student body.
The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief Mae Hunt ’21 and Evey Weisblat ’21, managing editor Jackson Wald ‘22 and executive director Elizabeth Stanley ’21. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively.