Section: Editorial

Staff Editorial: Students deserve a louder voice in administrative decisions

Yet again, the College has made significant decisions impacting the student body without taking student input into account — an example of top-down decision making. Kenyon recently announced that Community Advisors (CAs) will no longer receive hourly compensation and instead will be given semesterly stipends. In addition, the College has ended the residential program at the Kenyon Farm, effective next semester. 

These decisions should not have been made without first hearing from those who are directly impacted by them. We urge the College to listen to those whom they claim to serve, as these decisions will completely transform one’s undergraduate experience. 

While we understand the College is free to make decisions as it sees fit for its future, the identity of the school as a liberal arts and student-driven institution relies on student input in order to prosper. Not only have these voices been continuously ignored when decisions are made, they are rarely considered in the first place. 

Making decisions that significantly impact both the living and working conditions of students without consulting them prior to or during the decision-making process is unacceptable. We have written about issues of transparency before, and we will continue to write about them until the College honors the importance of students’ input in their own campus experience. It is disheartening that we have to keep repeating ourselves. 

We aren’t the only ones who feel like we are shouting into a void. The College’s decision to remove CAs from an hourly wage in favor of a semesterly stipend without soliciting their input or consulting them prior further demonstrates a severe lack of respect for their workers. Without an hourly wage in place, CAs are at further risk of being exploited by the College, as there is no safeguard in place to ensure that they aren’t overworked without proper compensation. 

Farm workers, too, are feeling the effects of the College’s top-down decision making. Residents of the Kenyon Farm have expressed their disappointment at the termination of the program, citing the tremendous community feel that it provides. These students should have had the opportunity to petition or, at the very least, have their thoughts on this matter be heard by Kenyon’s administrators.

The Kenyon Farm is the only student-run, residential college farm in the country. The College has elected to disband one of the most unique opportunities available to the student body. In doing so, Kenyon puts the overall success and culture of the Farm at risk. The residence has served as an essential community space for Farm volunteers, and the program has been featured as a selling point of the Kenyon experience. 

The College itself acknowledges the value of the pre-professional opportunities at the Farm, calling the work of the farmers “incalculable” on its website, and stating that their jobs “keep the farm running.” This is true: At the beginning of this year, the Farm manager quit and students ran operations entirely on their own. If this work is so valuable to the College’s success, why not consult the workers before changing their conditions?

Enough is enough. Regardless of how one feels about a union at Kenyon, no one can dispute the fact that students deserve to have a say in the way they want to spend their undergraduate career, especially with the price tag that comes with a Kenyon education. 


The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief  Jordy Fee-Platt ’22 and  Linnea Mumma ’22, managing editor Amanda Pyne ’22 and executive director Joe Wint ’22. You can contact them at,, and, respectively.

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