In journalism, the act of “burying the lede” — that is, to fail to note the most important information of a story (i.e., the lede) at the beginning — is considered poor practice. While the Collegian is certainly not infallible in this regard, it appears that neither is Kenyon: Many of the College’s recent news updates have either been buried underneath less important information or not given the serious respect these updates deserve. As a result, students are often left sifting through random T-shirt giveaways and various “Kenyon Today” tidbits to find out information that should be readily accessible. We hope the College realizes the effect that these inappropriate communication efforts have on the community, and amends these efforts.
Last week, Vice President for Student Affairs Celestino Limas announced a change in the pricing of student housing in an all-student email which also, oddly, contained a T-shirt giveaway. We at the Collegian found this off-putting, as it seemed to downplay the College’s serious financial adjustment that was announced just lines prior. While the Super Mario Bros.-themed Kenyon T-shirts are a neat promotion, they feel out of place when juxtaposed with something as important as a major adjustment in the housing rate system. The new system has implications for the financial planning of Kenyon families and other stakeholders. Though some may deem the news good and some bad, it may certainly carry implications for families’ decisions in the coming years.
The College’s “announcement” of the delayed opening of Bexley Hall as a residence was also a disappointment. Bexley Hall was supposed to open this coming August, for the beginning of the 2023-24 academic year. After few updates about the renovation, the College announced that students will be eligible to enter a lottery for residence in Bexley Hall once renovations have been completed — which will not be in time for this fall semester. “Delay” did not appear in the article even once, and neither did a new estimated completion date. Stakeholders in the Kenyon community deserve to be updated frankly and honestly about the ongoing capital projects on campus, and more generally, about all matters that involve College finances.
In yet another example of the College’s attempt to bury news, one can turn to the announcement of elevated radon levels in many Kenyon residences. While it is true that the College released a News Bulletin to the entire community directly confronting the issue and detailing its implications, the Kenyon Today newsletter, released one day after, seemed to hide the fact. The announcement was placed at the bottom of the newsletter in the “ICYMI” section. Further, this concluding tidbit does not mention anywhere in its text that Kenyon had detected elevated radon levels on campus, merely announcing that the College was embarking on a campus-wide testing program. This hides the real news, making it all too easy for someone to never learn the information of real consequence.
It is clear, then, that the College ought to revise their methods of communication to better inform Kenyon community members of important decisions and updates that will have tangible effects on their experiences and investments in Gambier. Through both increased transparency in reporting and more consideration in the gravity of these situations, the College can show its stakeholders the respect they deserve.
Reid, Salvatore and Amelia
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 email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively.
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This is a great point about a subtle but widespread problem with this administration! Though the attempts of the college to focus on positive developments are understandable, you cannot build trust with the student body and other stakeholders without communicating straightforwardly.
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