At the risk of sounding cliché, the Collegian has been my home away from home for the better part of three-and-a-half years. Though I began as a fledgling opinions assistant in 2019, I worked my way up to editor-in-chief — a feat I will forever be proud of, despite the 4 a.m. bedtimes and the plethora of post-publication controversies. Notably the Class of 2023 is leaving the Hill a very different place than when we first arrived.
The pandemic altered the very foundation of Kenyon and its community. To preface, I want to commend the College for its adept navigation of the pandemic: As far as I can tell, Kenyon’s senior class was one of only a few in the country to not miss any complete semesters of on-campus learning. This is something I’ll always be thankful for. It saddens me, then, that the school’s social scene never fully recovered — and while questionable administrative decisions abound, it may never.
Amid low student engagement across the board (a consequence of the pandemic, no doubt), the College has increasingly become the largest and most vocal opponent of “fun.” Increasingly stringent rules regarding the use of both public and fraternal spaces for events — all while prohibiting sororities from having non-division spaces for themselves — is an inequitable disaster that serves to only dissuade groups from hosting events altogether. Kenyon’s decision to ban the formation of new local Greek organizations in 2020 has only exacerbated this issue. In turn, Greek life and all-campus events are going the way of the dodo, despite the fact both have been the cornerstone of Kenyon’s social experience for decades. Any answer to the question, “Why are our students unhappy?” ought to be paired with a point toward a mirror and a blistering reminder of the futility of expensive steel statues in promoting students’ happiness.
On top of this, premature over-enrollment has cramped the North Campus Apartments, flooded Peirce Dining Hall with students at all times of the day and made enrolling in a limited number of classes more difficult than it already was. At least the money made from the extra tuition is going to good causes, like hiring former President Trump’s morally bankrupt legal posse to squash a student union. Though I’m not the largest supporter of K-SWOC, candidly, it takes deliberate ignorance and the moral compass of a sea slug to not doubt the integrity of the College’s decisions.
I don’t want my many critiques of Kenyon’s policies to obscure my immense appreciation for the Collegian, my friends and my peers. Thank you Alex Felleson ’23, Amelia Carnell ’23 and Reid Stautberg ’23 for your outstanding work and your tolerance of my in-office tomfoolery: I could not have asked for better people by my side. Thank you Molly Vogel ’00 for being a dedicated, hands-on advisor — one the paper sorely needed. Thank you to all of the amazing editors, writers and contributors for Volume 150 of the Collegian — whether it was covering exorbitant radon levels or former President Sean Decatur’s departure, everyone contributed to a year of stellar reporting. And a special thank you to Mia Sherin ’22 for introducing me to the Collegian, encouraging me to submit my ostensibly controversial takes for publication as a mere first year and, ultimately, taking me under her wing on staff that very next semester.
I want to also extend the utmost gratitude to my professors and advisors throughout my time at Kenyon; a flurry of personal challenges and journalistic obligations have unfortunately made the word “extension” a close friend of mine. My instructors have been excellent teachers and extremely accommodating — for this, I cannot thank them enough.
I wish all current and future Kenyon students the best of luck; as for the Volume 151 staff, I know you guys are going to kill it. Godspeed, Kenyon.
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