Our article “College prepares to fill counseling vacancies” in this week’s issue reports on staffing issues at the Cox Health and Counseling Center. We are concerned that a counseling center staff operating at half-capacity, especially without the Sexual Misconduct Advisors and only five Peer Counselors, will not be able to provide for the student body in the way it should.
On Wednesday, March 20, Vice President for Student Affairs Meredith Harper Bonham ’92 announced via a Student-Info email that two counselors had left Kenyon prior to spring break and that a third counselor will stop working full-time by next week and will also depart at the end of the academic year. This means that a counseling staff that was already fully-booked will be cut in half.
In a Sept. 22, 2016 article, the Collegian reported that consultants from the College of Wooster, Davidson College and Middlebury College conducted an external review of Kenyon’s health and wellness services in April 2016, which was the most recent review of this kind. The review found that in 2015, 723 students, approximately 45 percent of the student body, made use of the Counseling Center as a resource. How can three-and-a-half counselors ensure the mental and emotional well-being of nearly half of Kenyon students?
It is both curious and concerning that three counselors decided to leave Kenyon within the span of a month. While we want to thank each of the departing counselors for everything they have done for our school, it’s impossible not to wonder if their departures could signal something larger going on. Why are they leaving? And will more counselors follow them out?
We need answers. “Staffing transitions” may be normal, but a half-staffed counseling center certainly is not. For the good of the entire Kenyon community, we hope the College administration realizes the seriousness of this situation and commits itself to doing more than damage control, and that this can be merely a bump in the road toward a Counseling Center that can provide for each and every student that passes through its doors.
The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief Cameron Messinides ’19 and Devon Musgrave-Johnson ’19, managing editor Grant Miner ’19 and executive director Matt Mandel ’19. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, musgravejohnsond @kenyon.edu, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.