This semester, Kenyon has embarked on the search for a new president. The choice of a president is a chance for Kenyon to set its values and goals for the coming years, as the College looks into its third century and beyond. The presidential search committee has invited members of the community to share their perspectives, and so the executive staff of the Collegian would like to take the space this week to share our thoughts on what the new president of Kenyon should hold as their priorities, whoever they are.
First, the new president must be someone who will take action on Kenyon’s commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion, supporting marginalized students and continuing President Sean Decatur’s commitment to move Kenyon toward being an anti-racist institution. Such work, like mandating anti-racist professional development training for the Board of Trustees, ought to be continued and expanded under the new president.
The new president should also be someone who works transparently with students and takes students’ concerns seriously. This should include respecting the rights of student workers, which means not blocking K-SWOC’s path to an election as well as negotiating a contract in good faith if the union wins. The president must also listen to students’ calls regarding support for transgender students — something that was notably missing last year, when LGBTQ+ affinity organization leaders issued demands for support, including for Kenyon to speak out more strongly against transphobia and transmisogyny.
Kenyon is a unique institution, and the new president should be committed to what makes Kenyon Kenyon: its strong sense of community. Part of the College’s allure lies in this sense of camaraderie, and the next president must be its largest supporter. The new president should be actively involved in Gambier and its community: advising and teaching, as Decatur did, informally participating in community events and reviving pre-pandemic traditions like “Pizza with the Prez.”
We encourage all members of the Kenyon community to engage with the process. Community members can fill out this form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KenyonPresidentialSearch to share their opinions with the presidential search committee. This is an important opportunity to have our voices heard and shape the future direction of Kenyon.
Salvatore, Amelia and Reid
The staff editorial is written weekly by Editors-in-Chief Amelia Carnell ’23 and Salvatore Macchione ’23 and Executive Director Reid Stautberg ’23. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.
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Your list of requirements is expansive ...and while I’m not fluent on the current issues that occupy the day to day dialog...beyond the K-Swoc matter, you omit the single greatest vulnerability to Kenyon. It’s financial condition.
The next President must have a well developed set of financial skills and the ability to balance what may be wanted and what can be supported and sustained. Additionally an individual who is willing to confront the Tyranny of Tradition.....evolve we must. Reality.....
Reply to David Pasahow