Section: Editorial

College should provide equal spaces for religious groups

It is no secret that, in recent years, the College has been moving toward a more inclusive environment on campus.

We see these efforts in the increase in gender-neutral bathrooms on campus, in the newly renovated Snowden Multicultural Center and Unity House, in the CSAD panel on free speech and the new plans to increase physical accessibility in its buildings to 90 percent.

Inclusion and diversity have been, and continue to be, a priority for Kenyon, but have we done enough?

While speaking with people of faith on campus this past week, a Collegian reporter discovered that some members of our community feel as if there is a stigma against religious expression among students and faculty.

Although our staff members are not equipped to speak on behalf of those students and community members who have expressed this sentiment, the apparent disparity in the physical and material support given to different faith groups by the administration seems evident.

For example, Episcopalian students have the opportunity to attend services at the Church of the Holy Spirit — a conveniently located and central building on campus.

Those who practice the Islamic faith, on the other hand, are equipped with facilities like a frequently-flooding basement (as is the case with the Prayer and Meditation Center).

This is not to say that the College has made any purposeful decisions to treat certain faith groups differently on campus, but there are disparities between the opportunities afforded to these groups.

It would be a disservice to our fellow students and other community members not to recognize these differences. To acknowledge these differences as a problem on campus is to acknowledge that we have an obligation to provide equitable opportunities for all faith practices.

Comparable facilities should be made available to each faith and additional supports should be given to those faith communities that need them.

Kenyon may have been founded as a school for the clergy when Bishop Philander Chase first saw this hill, but the College has rightly tried to increase religious diversity on campus since then. We encourage them to follow through on this mission.

The staff editorial is written weekly by the executive editors of the Collegian, co-editors-in-chief Bailey Blaker ’18 and Gabrielle Healy ’18 and managing editor Lauren Eller ’18. You can contact them at blakerb@kenyon.edu, healyg@kenyon.edu and ellerl@kenyon.edu, respectively.

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